Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Thursday February 23 2012
This weeks 12th Man page in the Wigan Evening Post featured two contributions from Vital Latics:
Home Cheer Needed
Following a great result last time out at Bolton, the Latics have given themselves something to build on as they face the final third of the season. Following such a good performance, even though they are still sitting bottom of the table, there is hope that more wins will come as the battle to avoid the drop intensifies.
One genuine complaint about the Latics though, is that they have no home form, of the four wins gained this season only one as come in Wigan and that was back in August, so it is imperative that Martinez's men start winning games at the DW Stadium if they are to have any chance of pulling out of the relegation zone. Three of the next four games will be played on home turf, surely each one is a must win.
First up are Aston Villa and a return to the DW for last season's hero Charles N'Zogbia. The Zog appears to have been stifled by Villa's sterile play, under McLeish he isn't afforded the freedom he enjoyed at the Latics and hasn`t been anywhere near as effective for the Villa as he was with us. Let's hope it stays that way.
The Latics have been to Oman this past week, they have enjoyed some warm weather training, some team bonding and hopefully a recharging of the batteries. The players should be revitalised. With the buzz from the Bolton win still fresh and the knowledge that three points could lift us out of the bottom three there must be a big performance and some home cheer coming our way this weekend.
Back In The Mix
We have hauled ourselves back into the mix, and most of us had a great day out into the bargain. The team have had a nice refreshing break, and also chance to work together and bond, hopefully this will show on Saturday. If the last game at Bolton was considered by many to be a defining game, this is even more so, will we scrap from inside the drop zone or just above it?
Over the last 2-3 years whenever we have played in such games where our survival was on the line, we have delivered on each and every occasion. That experience and the confidence we should take from that record, will have teams in and around us scared. We are still there and we always escape in the end, even from 2-0 down at half time in a game we had to win. That gives me great hope.
What doesn't bode well for Saturday however is our performance levels in games such as the game coming up against Villa. It is clearly an opportunity to pick up more points and kick on, or an opportunity to create more frustration around the club by remaining precariously positioned in the table. It is exactly when we have that opportunity to get up and away, that we've played at our flattest over the last couple of seasons. I'm hoping that we still see ourselves as being in enough trouble to play like our lives depend upon it.
We also welcome back Charles N'Zogbia and Emile Heskey on Saturday, and I expect both to get a warm reception. Charlie particularly deserves it as his contributions are more recent in the memory - especially as I filled the football void of last week by watching the West Ham game. I'm hoping that the curse of the past player doesn`t rear its ugly head on Saturday. Roberto, remember he plays right until the final whistle, as if we could forget.
Latics and Proud
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Date:Thursday February 23 2012
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