After Thoughts on: A Week for the Youth

Mike Hewitt

An away day draw in London followed up by a youth trip to the sea side coast Bournemouth where we secured Fourth Round FA Cup football. Is that a good week in the world of Wigan Athletic? Well we have had better, and yet we have had a lot worst in the past. To summarize it was an okay week.

First to the league, that has to be our priority no matter what a portion of our fans are saying at the moment. The performance against Fulham was a very solid one, and a typical Roberto Martinez away game. Solid defensively and then quickly on the counter to try and produce chances and score goals. We were rewarded with a great goal from Franco Di Santo in the second half. That was followed up by strong defending culminating in the block off the line by Maynor Figueroa to save a point late on.

So the balance is coming, can we keep it up in the league? There is of course no good reason why we can't the next few games are very winnable and this team is capable of winning them. If we can keep strong in defence and have an on form striker then we will be in luck.

Our defenders are short on a bit of the rub of the green. Yet another one going down to an injury and it is set to be another long term one. Ivan Ramis now set to miss the rest of the season. Had this come a month it would be extremely bad news, as it is, it could just be bad news. Antolin Alcaraz is on the verge of a return to the first team, and we need him now.

Yet again at the weekend Ramis showed why Martinez wanted him in the summer. He is such a complete defender, he may not be a world class one, but he has all the attributes of one and can handle most situations. The same could be said for another Spanish defender; Roman Golobart continued his development against Bournemouth on Tuesday night and was impressive yet again. A clearance of the line and a strong dominating influence on the back three. A future awaits the young man.

Is story and many others of the young players will continue when the team travel to Maclessfield on the 26th January. For many of them it will be chance to really start pushing for a first team place. The two new lads didn't do themselves any harm in two very good performances. Up front Angelo Henriquez was trouble in and around the box, throughout the night he was building a good partnership with Mr Boselli. Yet again though, the young man was unlucky not to score, this time the ball was cleared off the line by a Bournemouth defender. He is getting closer.

The other new arrival in Roger Espinoza also put in a very good shift. The midfielders first test of English football, and FA Cup win, it’s what dreams are made of. And a dream debut in the midfield as he controlled most of what was going on. Of course it will take him time to get up to speed having been on a break, yet apart from being a bit sluggish there wasn't a lot wrong with his solid performance.

Back in the League such solid Performances are things we need to build upon. Last time we had success away from home (when we beat Tottenham 1-0) we followed it up with a poor performance and a 2-1 defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion. Can we do better this time?

If the lads keep their heads down and play the way they can do then yes why not. Against Fulham there are many positives to take away. We managed to control the midfield and cut off most of their attacking supply. When the ball did get through, our defenders were quick to react and not allow the Cottagers time on the ball. The one time they got a good yard of space, they scored but it was an absolute wonder goal by the Greek Karagounis.

Coming into the home game, there has to be a change. David Jones was the replacement for Arouna Kone as the Ivorian begins his African Cup of Nations. That is all well and good, and Jones put in a usual solid performance, yet he isn't the most attack minded player in our squad. Now with Henrique having a full game, do we start him and hope for the best? Or do we go for the £6 million Boselli? I know who I would go for personally. But more on that later in the week.

For now it is time to be happy and confident in the knowledge that the team is starting to slowly awaken for the second half of the season. Or did you think we weren't going to be doing that this season?

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