A Special Mention To... Alex Bruce
On Deadline Day of the January transfer window, he moved to the DW Stadium from Hull City on loan until the end of the 2016/17 season.
A struggle to reach full fitness followed which meant that Bruce, the son of former Wigan manager Steve Bruce, only made two appearances for Latics during his loan spell - both as a substitute in the home draws against Cardiff City and Leeds United.
The 33-year-old suffered relegation from the Championship and returned to Hull knowing that he had played his last game for the Tigers. He was released just weeks later and found himself without a club heading into the summer.
Here comes the bizarre bit - I`ll list it for maximum impact:
- Saturday 13th August - Bruce joins Lee Clark`s Bury on non-contract terms.
- Also Saturday 13th August - Bruce makes his Bury debut against Wigan and scores a header to make it 1-1 at the time (Latics eventually won 4-1).
- Wednesday 30th August - Bruce leaves Bury by mutual consent.
- Thursday 31st August (Deadline Day) - Bruce rejoins Wigan but this time on a permanent one-year deal.
Anyway, now that`s cleared up I just wanted to say how impressed I`ve been whenever he`s had to plug the gap in our defence.
He stepped in at centre-back earlier on in the season, after Chey Dunkley received a three-game suspension following a straight red card in the 1-1 home draw with Portsmouth.
However, I was most impressed with him during Saturday`s 3-1 away victory at Rotherham United, having kept a close eye on him from the away end.
The thing that impressed me the most is how easily he filled the huge gap left by our vice-captain and best central defender Dan Burn; they are big shoes to fill (literally).
Bruce`s experience shone through as he handled League One`s top scorer - the 6 foot 4 inches Kieffer Moore - with relative ease, particularly in the second half.
He also proved his composure and ability on the ball when he passed out from the back on numerous occasions throughout the 90 minutes.
The former Ipswich Town and Leeds defender`s standout moment of the game was by far and away his spontaneous yet cheeky back-heel finish to make it 2-1. That was a real Brucey Bonus*
So there we have it, Alex Bruce is the first player to receive praise in Vital Wigan`s new feature 'A Special Mention To...`
*Pun very much intended!