Wigan Athletic marked their return to the Championship with a battling 0-0 draw against local rivals Preston North End.
- It’s good to be back!
When the Championship fixtures were released in June Latics’ opening day encounter with Preston North End stood out immediately. A home game against a local rival is some way to start the season and the excitement was clear to see at the DW yesterday. A crowd of over 15,000 saw two sides go toe to toe in a hard fought battle that can give both sides plenty of confidence going into the rest of the campaign. From a Latics point of view it proved that we do belong here and have the ability to have a successful season back where we belong.
2. Take your chances!
One thing midfielder Tom Naylor mentioned before the match was the superior clinical edge between Championship and League 1 sides. He rightly pointed out that “There are some really good teams in the league – games are played at a quick tempo…and if you get a chance to score, you have to take it.” Unfortunately Latics will rue a string of missed chances whilst they were on top that could (maybe should) have put the game to bed in the first half. Its something we’ll need to improve on as the season progresses.
3. In the middle of our goal!
Goalkeepers have been the main topic of conversation around Latics’ transfer window this summer. Two Egyptian internationals have been linked whilst other British targets have been quietly spoke about as we seemingly look to strengthen in between the sticks. But after Ben Amos’ performance yesterday is there any need? The 32 year old made a number of impressive saves including a heroic double save on the stroke of half time to deny Troy Parrot and Emil Riis. He played like a man fighting for his spot in the side and long may that continue.
4. Squads win matches!
As is always the case in football Latics had to rely on the strength of their bench to bring them home on Saturday afternoon. When star man Jack Watmough went down injured half an hour in Jason Kerr was introduced to the fold far sooner than expected. Thankfully despite partnering Curtis Tilt in a back 4 for the first time ever the pair stood firm to deny North End’s front men much in terms of clear chances. Stephen Humphrys introduction late on changed the dynamic of the game in our favour but fans were left wanting as neither Thelo Aasgaard nor Jamie McGrath featured. There’ll be plenty of time to see them impress but yesterday felt like the perfect game for one or both of them.
5. Reinforcements Needed!
Most Wigan fans agree that we need a couple more players to fill out what is becoming a pretty thin squad. Watmough’s injury didn’t look great and it leaves us with only 2 fit senior CBs so that’s a position that undoubtedly needs some investment. Hopefully as Premier League sides finalise their squads for the upcoming season it creates opportunities for Latics to use the loan market and bring in talented players to plug gaps in the side. A striker might be needed if Charlie Wyke’s injury doesn’t improve whilst an extra centre midfielder and winger could also come in handy. It’ll be interesting to see what we do in the remaining month of the transfer window.
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