3 things Cook must ensure to get Wigan promoted
With 18 matches to go, Wigan Athletic currently lead the way in League One and us fans are dreaming of an immediate return to the Championship, after relegation last year, as the Latics look to establish themselves once again.
The 2012/13 season was historic for Wigan, as we won the FA Cup in remarkable style, (you might remember!), but things have been difficult since - with relegation experienced twice in the past three seasons.
All we can do now is hope that another title is around the corner but I am sure none of us will kid ourselves it will be easy as the battle at the top of the league is extremely close, with just a slim two-point advantage over second-placed Shrewsbury Town. Although to be fair, we do also have a game in hand.
Paul Cook`s side still have work to do then and so here are my three things I think he must do to ensure that Wigan earn promotion out of the third-tier of English football.
Keep Will Grigg fit
The man with the most famous chant in English football has indeed been on fire, at least recently, with the 26-year-old scoring nine goals in the League- as well as adding a further six in the FA Cup.
A remarkable run now includes four goals in his last three appearances, two of which came in an FA Cup win over Premier League outfit West Ham, and it shows that Will Grigg is certainly too good for League One.
By keeping his services in January, Wigan have given themselves a massive boost for the remainder of the season and it`s crucial that the club keep him fit. If Wigan do miss out, then the Northern Ireland international will surely leave in the summer.
Enjoy the FA Cup
Memories of the FA Cup success just a few years ago are sure to come flooding back in the weeks ahead, as Wigan tackle Premier League leaders Manchester City in the fifth round- the side they famously beat in 2013`s final.
The contrast of the two sides since has been significantly different, with the Citizens running away with the league title and splashing millions of pounds on their side. As such, Wigan won`t be expected to get anything from this game but it can provide a boost.
With a positive display, Wigan can hold their heads eye and take inspiration from the game for the remainder of the season. If they do well, they`ll show they`re still capable of going toe-to-toe with the bigger sides in England- and that Wigan are too big a club for League One.
Maintain rock-solid defence
Wigan`s stand-out area this season has certainly been in defence, where Cook`s side have remarkably conceded just 13 goals in 28 matches so far- which is a phenomenal record and a tremendous achievement.
In the past nine League One matches, Wigan have remarkably kept eight clean sheets and have also managed to prevent two Premier League sides, Bournemouth and West Ham, from scoring in the FA Cup.
During the past few months though, Wigan have experienced mixed form in front of goal, scoring seven against Oxford but just one against Northampton, and it shows that the defence needs to remain strong if Wigan are to continue picking up points in their quest to secure promotion.
Agree? What would your three things be?