Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Friday August 12 2011
The new season is almost upon us so it must be time to rinse out the mugs and crack open a new packet of chocolate Hobnobs, brew the coffee and enjoy a chat with our opponents ahead of Saturdays game.
The Latics kick off the new season with a home game against newly promoted Norwich City who are making a welcome return to the top flight, meeting up at Vital Towers is Vital Latics editor worbo and his Norwich counterpart Michael Dilley, so without further ado:
worbo - First of all welcome to Vital Towers Michael, nice to meet up with you and secondly welcome to the Premier League, this will be your first season in the top flight for a while, are you excited or is that an understatement?
Michael - Cheers worbo, good to finally be here! Excited is definitely one word for it, but as always it's mixed with a generous dose of what can only be described as terror!
worbo - We have only made two signings since the end of the last campaign, Ali Al-Habsi, who we had on loan last season and former Wolves man Dave Jones, though we have managed to keep hold of our gaffer Roberto Martinez who was wanted by Aston Villa, how have Norwich fared in the transfer market, any potential stars brought in?
Michael - Paul Lambert has brought in seven new faces but has stuck to his ethos of only signing what he describes as 'young, hungry' players. The good part of that is that they're relatively cheap - there are no 50k per week superstars at Carrow Road - but the downside is we haven't got a lot of Premier League experience in the squad. How big an issue that actually is we should find out fairly quickly.
worbo - My hopes for the Latics this season are a comfortable mid-table finish and a run in one of the cups and you know what I can see it coming off, as for Norwich I really hope you stay up, but, as you are aware no doubt, there is a big step in class from the Championship to the Premier League, so I see a tough second half of the season for the Canaries, though I do feel you will survive, just.
What do you see happening for both clubs in the coming nine months?
Michael - From our perspective we're under no illusions as to how difficult this season is going to be - although there will always be those who think we should be in the top half almost immediately. Like with all the promoted clubs though the vast majority of us would be absolutely delighted if we can stay up.
From the outside looking in I think it could also be a hard year for you guys. On paper your squad looks considerably weaker than last season and that can't be a good thing.
worbo - If I had to pick out a danger man from the Latics it would be Victor Moses, he`ll rip you apart if he`s on song, a superb talent, fast, direct, great control and he can shoot.
As for Norwich I am looking forward to seeing Grant Holt and if he can carry his form from last season through into the Premier League.
Which two danger men would you pick from the Latics and Norwich Michael?
Michael - Moses is the obvious one but we're hearing an awful lot of good things about James McCarthy. If he's fit, I think he could be extremely dangerous.
worbo - Our boss Roberto Martinez is a young forward thinking manager that is focused on building a club rather than just a team, he is the real deal without a doubt, your guy, Paul Lambert is highly regarded, is he as good as people say?
Michael - In a word, yes. It's impossible to overstate the impact he has had on the club since he came in. The board have backed him but what Lambert and his team have achieved in such a short period of time is nothing short of incredible.
worbo - Right Michael down to business, a prediction, we are due a good start to the season and if we can carry last season`s form into the new one there can only be one outcome, I am going for a closely contested game and a 2-0 home win for the Latics, how do you see it?
Michael - We don't tend to start brilliantly but we're in a different situation now than we have been for quite a while. I can't see any reason why we can't get off to a good start but I'm going to be fairly dull and go for a 1-1 draw. Historically we just don't do clean sheets and a solid point away from home would be an excellent start.
worbo - Thanks for the chat Michael and good luck for the rest of the season
Latics and Proud
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Date:Friday August 12 2011
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