Lat­ics lack­ing a scorer – and that’s so vi­tal

The Football League Paper - - NEIL MELLOR -

NOT too long ago, Wi­gan looked dead and buried. Now, af­ter three away wins on the spin capped by a fan­tas­tic mid­week per­for­mance at Nor­wich, they’ve given them­selves a chance.

But beat­ing big teams on the road will do them no good at all un­less they sort out their atro­cious home form. This is a side who haven’t won at home since Au­gust.

That des­per­ately needs to be ad­dressed and un­less Malky Mackay can en­gi­neer three or four wins in a row at the DW, their prospects re­main bleak.

Huge

I’m look­ing at the Lat­ics’ re­main­ing games and six of them are against teams in the bot­tom half of the Cham­pi­onship, in­clud­ing a huge clash away to Rother­ham this week­end. That’s an op­por­tu­nity they have to seize.

But when I look at Rother­ham, I see fire­power and play­ers who can hit dou­ble fig­ures. On their day, they can score against any­one. Wi­gan can’t, and that’s why I fear for them.

We’re into March now and James McClean – a mid­fielder – is their top­scorer with six goals. The next per­son on the list has two. That’s nowhere near enough and tells you ex­actly where the prob­lem lies.

With­out some­one who can score on a con­sis­tent ba­sis, you can’t win games. And right now, I’m not sure Malky – who took over from Uwe Rosler in Novem­ber – has that clin­i­cal scorer in his ranks. I don’t think Marc-An­toine For­tune’s the an­swer. He’s been there long enough and not done the busi­ness. Sheyi Ojo’s come on loan from Liver­pool. He’s a lively, cre­ative player but he’s only 17. You can’t ex­pect too much.

Malky brought in Leon Clarke and called him a proper cen­tre-for­ward. Un­for­tu­nately, he got in­jured af­ter six games and is still out. With­out a new loan sign­ing, where are the goals go­ing to come from?

See­ing Wi­gan on the brink of rel­e­ga­tion to League One ten years af­ter pro­mo­tion to the Pre­mier League is in­cred­i­ble.

This is a team that spent eight years in the top flight, won the FA Cup in 2013 and just last sea­son came within a whisker of bounc­ing straight back.

But it just shows how im­por­tant it is for teams who get rel­e­gated from the Pre­mier League to go back up in sea­son one. If they don’t, they get lum­bered with a lot of play­ers on huge con­tracts and are forced to rip ev­ery­thing to pieces.

I re­mem­ber speak­ing to Malky when he got the job and he said then that get­ting rid of the high earn­ers was im­per­a­tive.

It’s a sit­u­a­tion that can re­ally af­fect morale at the club. If you’re one of the higher-earn­ing play­ers, you’re think­ing ‘Are they try­ing to ship me out?’. If you’re not, you’re think­ing ‘Am I about to lose some qual­ity team­mates?’ It cre­ates a lot of un­cer­tainty and all dis­tracts from the job in hand.

It’s re­ally sad. Wi­gan is a rugby town but the club has done so well in re­cent years to win the towns­folk round. Now it looks as though that fab­u­lous jour­ney could end right back where it started.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

TONY Mow­bray was

at­trac­tive, famed for play­ing

his time atWest Brom pass­ing foot­ball in and Mid­dles­brough.

of rel­e­ga­tion-threatBut af­ter tak­ing charge

we’ll be week, I don’t think ened Coven­try this a place

There’s a time and see­ing much of that. of

and a scrap at the foot for the beau­ti­ful game League One isn’t it.

Tony, re­sults and points Needs must and,for the

be­tween now and are the only cur­rency three

Get those and the end of the sea­son.

signed will surely month con­tract he’s

he can put be ex­tended and then

his stamp on the team. LOAN STAR: Jor­don Ibe shone at Derby

FU­RI­OUS: Neil Len­non

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