After winning the FA Cup last season — and relegation from the Premier League — Wigan Athletic are adapting to life in the Championship under new manager Owen Coyle. Ahead of Saturday’s meeting at the DW Stadium, Kieran Heapy from Pie Eaters Footie tells us what to expect from the home side…
What are your expectations for 2013-14?
I would love to see the Latics win the league and bounce back into the Premier League, but is that a realistic option? With the turn around in players, and the way we have been playing recently, I don’t even see us as promotion candidates. However, saying that, if the club didn’t at least achieve a promotion place then it would be an underachievement by the side.
What’s the fans’ general opinion of Owen Coyle?
It started off a bit mixed. For me it was the reports coming out of Bolton about the way he handled the players’ training regimes and how unfit they appeared to be. The other worry was that at Bolton he would always look to play the long ball game.
So far the latter has been true and shows just why we have been playing poorly. Instead of looking to keep possession we are sending the ball high and long to no avail. The worry now is that Coyle doesn’t seem to know how to play this squad or who in fact is his best XI. More games and, with a bit of time hopefully, that will change and the team can gel and play the way we can, with quick passing football.
Have there been many changes since last season?
Well aside from backroom staff, manager, players and league there hasn’t been much!
The changes in playing staff have been fantastic, a lovely collection of players on the free or cheap who are hungry and wanting to play. The backroom staff seem to have blended in well with the rest of the team we have here at Wigan.
But as I said before the changes are taking a time to bed down to a sort of norm, it’s the same with any change. The one thing we all had hoped to change was our defensive errors, so far they have been more apparent than in past seasons.
What can we expect tactically?
Well, I’d like to see the quick passing and attacking football that the Latics can play. However it seems we have a number of options depending on how the team want to play. The gaffer is looking to use wingers to get into the wide areas and open space in the middle for the big man and midfielders to get into the box and score from. That is all to follow after some gentle build-up play.
When the players get it right (the opening day win over Bransley) all goes well, yet when we struggle it goes horribly wrong and we just seem unable to either score or win games; the past three games have been an example of that.
It could be a mixed bag from Wigan and, the way Forest are playing, I have to say I am worried you could wash over us with a comprehensive win.
Who are the key players to watch out for?
This all depends on who plays. If Shaun Maloney is fit for the game, then he is the man to watch. Controls the game no matter where he is on the pitch. The combination of fast feet and intelligence make him a tough player to face whoever you are; you can never know whether he will use his left or right foot.
What’s going to happen on Saturday?
Of course I’d love to see a Wigan win. Yet with two draws in our last two home games, I think that will yet again be the scoreline. My prediction of the score: 1-1.
You can follow Kieran on Twitter: Follow @PieEatersFootie
And Pie Eaters Footie is very much worth a read.
Image: Terry Robinson (CC-BY-SA-2.0), via Wikimedia Commons