As it is the FA Cup weekend we have plenty of articles.
This is the first of two parts as we were inundated with requests from Wigan Athletic fans who wanting to be subjected to our pre-game Q&A ahead of the fourth round FA Cup tie at the DW Stadium this weekend.
We thank the guys from the Wigan Latics Fan Page for their time answering the questions that we put to them. Here is what they had to say to us.
Q. How has your season gone so far in your view?
Our season didn’t get off to the best of starts with our old manager Owen Coyle as we just seemed to be drawing games and not winning very often and sat fourteenth in the Championship. However, the future looked bright when our new manager Uwe Rosler came in from Brentford. Rosler changed our style of play completely as Wigan went from route one to a passing style which is very similar to Swansea City’s. Since Rosler has come in Wigan have seemed to be a much more dominant force compared to earlier in the season and have only lost one league game since he took over as manager. Not only has our style of play changed, but our defence has been solid compare to when Coyle was manager. The Championship is a very tough division as anyone can beat anyone so we know it is going to be tough to get promoted. We feel that the latter stages of the season will be vital.
Q. Are you happy with how things have gone at the club since your new manager was appointed?
We are very happy with how things have gone since Rosler has took over as he went on a eight game unbeaten run straight away and that was only broken at the weekend by Doncaster Rovers. Rosler has given the team a massive boost of confidence and have started playing very fluent attacking football. It seems Rosler likes a very fast tempo to games and changes the starting team often to freshen up players and to give some younger players a chance to perform at their peak whereas Coyle just kept playing the same team with the same tactics.
Q. Where do you think you will finish this season in both the league and cup competitions?
We believe that we can finish in the top six positions in the Championship and get that crucial play-off place which would give us that huge opportunity to get promoted to the best and most exciting division in the world.
As you may know, we were in the Europa League this season as FA Cup holders but we didn’t have a good run as we came up against strong opposition who had previous European experience. We were knocked out of the Capital One Cup this season by last year’s FA Cup runners-up in Manchester City but in the FA Cup this season, we feel like we can make great progress if we can beat the well supported Crystal Palace. We don’t think that we will succeed last season’s famous victory over Manchester City.
This just shows how football is about pride and passion. Our Latics team for the FA Cup Final was worth eleven million whereas the Manchester City team cost three hundred and sixty-five million. Gareth Barry alone cost City more than Wigan’s entire starting eleven.
Q. There are plenty of links between Wigan and Palace with Victor Moses, Emmerson Boyce and Ben Watson playing for both clubs. Are you looking after Emmerson and Ben and how highly are they rated by Wigan fans?
Yes, Ben Watson and Emmerson Boyce are both highly rated at Wigan and are both fan favourites. Ben Watson for his winning goal in the FA Cup Final last year. He’s a very reliable player in midfield as he can sit deep and read the game well. He has a good passing range to his game and can score from time to time.
Emmerson Boyce is also highly rated at Wigan Athletic for his great captaincy. He is a great role model to both the fans and the team. What we like about Emmerson is that if the team are going through a bad period he will always reassure the fans of the club that things will get better. He always gives 110% effort in every game he plays and is clearly very passionate about the club in general.
There is a local charity in which Emmerson is the ambassador of, the Joseph Goal charity (follow on Twitter). It is about a little boy called Joseph Kendrick who is a three years old and has NKH which is ‘Non-Ketotic Hyperglycinemia’ and the illness is a rare life-limiting genetic disorder that severely affects his development. Joseph was a good luck charm in Wigan’s most famous ever win against Manchester City in the FA Cup final. He was also carried out by Emmerson on the big day.
Victor Moses was a great player for both Wigan Athletic and Crystal Palace. He showed much promise while he was at Palace and the Wigan manager at the time Roberto Martinez scouted Victor for a while before asking Wigan to buy him. Victor then went on to become an even better talent than what he already was and Chelsea and several other top Premier League clubs were after Victor’s signature, but Chelsea offered a sum of money to Wigan that simply could not be refused for the player plus Victor also wanted to make the big money move to become a Chelsea player.
He was both a fans favourite for Wigan and Palace but once his move to Chelsea was completed he struggled to find his feet there so that is why he has been loaned to Liverpool where he is getting more frequent game time. Victor had a chance to choose England or his native Nigeria for his international team but he chose to play for Nigeria where now he is one of the first names on the team sheet for Nigeria although he previously played for England U21’s.
Q. What signings do you hope or expect to be made during the transfer window?
In the January transfer window we hoped to bring in a striker, midfielder and a defender. So far we have brought in three loanee players. We brought in Nicky Maynard from Cardiff City who is a proven goal scorer. We hope that Maynard can find his natural form at Wigan and help us push for the play-offs. From Everton we have brought in a young defender called Tyias Browning who is a very reliable defender but he lacks experience and hopefully at Wigan we can give him first team football and develop his overall game. We have recently made another loanee signing from Chelsea, Josh McEachran is a very talented young midfielder who is creative and has a good pass on him. We hope that Josh can develop his game at Wigan and he has proven in the past that he has the talent by making numerous appearances for England U21s and he made his full team Chelsea debut just at the age of seventeen.
Q. Which Wigan player has impressed and which has disappointed this season?
The players that have stood out from everyone in the Wigan team this season has been the central defender Leon Barnett who we bought from Norwich City in the last summer transfer window. He has impressed us as he has been completely solid and consistent throughout the season so far and he always give his all to the game and puts his body on the line for the ball. Also, Nick Powell who we got on loan from Manchester United has impressed massively at the club and is also a fans favourite. He has impressed us because he is a versatile player and plays outstanding in every position he is asked to play in. He is our top goal scorer this season with ten goals in all competitions and we think that he will be a first choice in Manchester United’s starting line up in the future and will also represent England at the highest level.
The main disappointment of this has been Grant Holt by far. We brought in the old English style centre forward from Norwich City for two million pounds. He only scored two goals in sixteen appearances for the Latics. Wigan fans thought that he would be up there with the highest top goal scorer in the league as he was one of the favourites to do so. In his result of his poor form for Wigan he has been loaned out to Premier League side Aston Villa for the rest of the season to see if he can regain some of his past form.
Q. Who should Palace be wary of in the game on Saturday?
If all Callum McManaman, James McClean and Nick Powell play then Palace should be very wary as all of these players are dangerous in attack for the Latics. Both McClean and McManaman are very attacking and they love to challenge defenders down the wings. Both are very quick and like running at the full backs and also very creative players for the team. Powell is the playmaker as most of the ball goes through him and he even scores the most goals. All three of these players are very attacking and connect well with each other and trouble defenders most games.
Q. Who do you think Wigan should be concerned about from the Palace line up?
We will be concerned about Jedinak, Puncheon, Gayle and Chamakh if they all start. We will be concerned about Jedinak playing because he is a great leader for Palace and he breaks up play very well. Puncheon is a very skilful player and will cause our defence problems as he plays on the right and can cut in and he has a good shot on him. Gayle is a good attacking young player who has plenty of pace. He has a great shot on him as he showed with that last minute winner against Aston Villa. If you start Gayle and Chamakh both upfront then this would cause us problems as Gayle is a very nippy, skilful striker and Chamakh is a proven goal scorer. Palace’s use of Chamakh’s height and strength is key as he is your top goal scorer this season so far. If all of these players start then we think it will cause our defence problems all afternoon as they are all Premier League quality players and they are all individually talented.
Q9. How do you think Palace have fared so far in their return to the Premier League?
Well, Palace’s aim is just to stay up in the Premier League and they would take anything apart from being relegated. Being sixteenth in the league isn’t bad going at all at this stage. You could argue that Palace could be higher in the league table with some of the decisions in games but it could be far worse, you could be rock bottom which would need a miracle to get out off.
The first season is rather difficult from being in the Championship where all the teams around are at a similar standard but is extremely hard in the Premier League when you have play away at teams like Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea. We hope that we can play you next season in the Premier League by you staying up and hopefully we can gain promotion. We hope Palace do stay up because they are a team with a fantastic set of supporters and the players give it their all each game. We hope we will be facing each other next season should we get back to where we belong.
Q. Your prediction for this one?
We think that it will be a tight contest game and both teams will be have a solid defence so it will be hard for either to break down. But we are going to have to support our team on this one and we are going for a 2-1 Wigan victory with the goals coming from Powell and Watson for Wigan and for Palace Chamakh while Powell getting the man of the match award.
Q. And finally, let us know all about yourselves and anything that you would like to promote …
We are a bunch of Wigan Athletic season ticket holders and we have been to every single home and away game for the last ten years. We have only been running the twitter page for around six months so if you could spread the awareness of our page then we will greatly appreciate this.
Our interests in Wigan Athletic Football Club began long, long ago and being season ticket holders for a number of years, we have witnessed the good times and the bad times. Last year’s famous FA Cup final victory over Manchester City has to be one of if not the best.
We support two local charities for two little children in Wigan and the little children are both Wigan Athletic fans. One of the charities is called ‘Carrieon-fighting’ and it is for a little girl called Carrie-Anne who is just nine years old and suffers from a rare condition muscular dystrophy and if you want to support Carrie-Anne, then the twitter page for the Carrieon-fighting is here so please follow it and support Carrie-Anne. The website for the charity is ‘Carrie On Fighting’.
The other charity that we support is a charity called ‘JosephsGoal’ and we previously spoke about this charity in one of the opening paragraphs. It is for a little boy called Joseph Kendrick who is three years old and suffers from a very rare life-limiting genetic disorder that severely affects his development. The Twitter account is here please follow it to support the little Latics fan. The website for this charity is ‘Josephs Goal’.
The people who answered these questions run the Wigan Latics Fan Page Twitter account and we are thrilled that you asked us as we have thoroughly enjoyed responding. The fan page has only been running for around half a year and we want to reach 2,000 followers, we are only around 95 off that at the moment.
If Palace fans could follow us then we will be truly thankful for that. The link for our twitter page is here. We wish you the best of luck for the rest of your season.