It might not seem like it on Paper, but I believe that Wigan Athletic are having a very good season. They currently sit tenth in the Sky Bet Championship and second in Group D in the Europa League. Wigan, the only second tier side in the continental competition, have impressed against the likes of Maribor and Rubin Kazan and look comfortable to progress to the knockout stages, a huge achievement for such a small side.
They haven’t been too bad in the league either, an unbeaten home record with a tight defence, it seems well worth making the trip to the bookies to bet that the Latics will be promoted either automatically or by the Play-offs. You have to credit the team, who have arguably the busiest fixture list in the country. It was only last weekend they had to travel to Russia to play Kazan, where they were narrowly beaten, before flying back to take on Yeovil in the Championship, a game they won 1-0.
All the plaudits must go to the manager. Owen Coyle has done an outstanding job so far to keep both the League and Europa League in contention for the side, we’ve seen teams like Birmingham who, a few seasons ago struggled to balance the two competitions when they were in a similar situation. The team have also remained grounded and they have been putting in really good performances. The club are benefiting from an excellent summer transfer market, one which saw the likes of James McClean and Marc-Antoine Fortune arrive at the DW Stadium.
The DW is a feared place to go to, with Brighton and Hove Albion the next team to make the daunting trip north. If Wigan keep the home form going, they will easily end in the Play-Offs, which will make the season overall one of their best. It would be the icing on top of the cake if they were to make it into the last 32 or even 16 of the Europa League, the prospect of bigger and more established European clubs coming to Wigan will be a crowd pleaser and bring the fans to the games, increasing their fan base and income. Wigan will also be feared by clubs after their performances so far.
So come May next year, we could be talking about Wigan Athletic and the season they had. Keep it up boys….