Opposition view: Wigan Athletic

By Ric Turner, Wed 28 November 2012 09:44

Opposition view: Wigan Athletic

Ahead of tonight's clash at the DW Stadium, Bluemoon caught up with Tallkenny from Wigan site This Northern Soul to get the lowdown on the opposition...

What are your expectations for this season?

Last season's turbo-charged finish, when it all eventually clicked, and 6 wins from 8 (a feat only matched, just, by one other club, oh yeah congrats on that by the way) took us safely up  to the heady heights of 15th. Surely that European form would have us booking flights and looking forward to games with the continents other also-rans, Videoton FC, Genk, Liverpool FC?

There's the odd threat of something that almost resembles consistency thus far. We've scored and won more and conceded and lost less. So some good signs. Realistically though, I expect to be about 10 points better off and finish around 10-12th this season.

Are you happy with the manager?

Young, intelligent, ambitious, loyal, ex-player, who cares about our club and wants to play football. How can't you be? All the Villa / Liverpool talk made for a nice media off-season side-show for a while but he's still here and we should think ourselves lucky. Believe it or not there were some calling for the return of Steve Bruce during last season's lower points. No thanks and a big yes for me here.

Who are your key players?

We are by no means a team of stars. Our Bobby likes to have a team of players "doing a job". Really that means we can't afford key players. A club of our financial standing will often lose those considered as key players. Losing Victor Moses, though, has opened the door to others and what he had in skill he lacked in decision-making. Maloney is key here, taking more of the right routes, bringing others in and allowing us to attack in numbers....in theory. Kone is troublesome to defenders and with a touch more composure to add to his bustle will cause many problems for opponents this season.

In the middle the Jimmy Mc's are hugely important to both our fluidity and break up play, both will need big games on Wednesday.

Gary Caldwell is our heart-on-sleeve leader and having cut down on mistakes is key to a semi-solid, semi-organised defence.

Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?

With Ramis more settled he and Kone look like good signings. The Moses £10million paid for these two as he was always on his way this season. It's a disappointing transfers in number having also lost the likes of Rodallega and Diame, but we have to remember who we are and the manager's "will he won't he leave" scenario can't have helped. We hope for one or two at the next window but won't hold our breath.

Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?

One or two more injuries to the squad and Callum Mcmanaman may well get his time. A 21 year old who was at Everton as a kid and looks from the fleeting glances we've had that he's not too far off a prolonged chance at proving himself.

Your Achilles heel?

We have no failings at all of course. Like I'd give away top secret defects such as:

- Our keeper can't kick and is dodgy under a high ball.
- Tommy Cooper had more tricks than Jean Beausejour.
- We don't boo enough! Jordi Gomez scores hat-tricks when we do that.
- Our empty seats - a large section of our townsfolk are dying for us to get back where we  belong so they can rid themselves of the guilt from supporting you lot or your mates from across the city.

Our pies are good though. And it's 2 for 1 compared to your prices :) This is Wigan of course, what else matters.

If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?

I'd go back to 98/99 season and sign the Goat, no reason required.

Easy this one - David Silva, I reckon Martinez could get him playing. Once he'd got past Jordi of course.

What is your perception of City as a club?

Your club's official website's better than ours. We have to pay for videos having said that see above pie comment. I was subjected to yesterdays clips of City vs Wigan goals which weren't great watching, cue Titus Bramble.

I work with a few city fans and to be fair they've all been there a long time and all know their stuff. The best ways to sneak into Springfield Park on Play Off days mostly. I don't know how you've all coped with the changes. Must be hard. Sorry I just watched the video and can't get past the Goat thing :)

Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?

God knows with all the injuries but probably something like.

Al habsi
Boyce Lopez(Caldwell if fit) Figueroa
Stam Mcarthy Jones Beasejour
Kone Gomez Maloney

Lawro says 4-1 City so anything better than that is bonus I reckon. I'm going for a pessimistic 3-1 to City.