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Season Preview: Rochdale 2-1 Wigan Athetic

The last of our pre-season friendlies on English soil saw Wigan make the trip to Spotland to face Rochdale. Uwe Rosler taking the chance to take a few of our younger players and to give Grant Holt a chance to impress up front to see if he can make his way into the gaffers plans.

Chris Brunskill

The team jet back off to Germany for their second pre-season camp this coming week, before all that though Uwe Rosler picked a team to take on Rochdale. In a squad showing its youth and a mix of players needing to sharpen up after injuries last season, it was a team that had a very new look to it and team that Rosler wasn't here to get a result but instead to get players game time and improve fitness.

It was clear from the off our defense and goalkeeper for that matter hadn't played together much as a clear miscommunication allowed Rochdale to take the lead. A long ball down the left hand side left Thomas Rogne exposed and the defender allowed Rochdale winger Iain Henderson to cut in and chip the ball over Lee Nicholls.

Wigan reacted and that man James Tavernier continues to impress in a Wigan shirt. The former Newcastle United defender, would go on to score Wigan's only goal of the game (and what a goal it was) but he could only manage to deliver a couple of dangerous crosses and force the Rochdale keeper into some good saves.

Grant Holt was the man looking to get onto the end of the crosses. The striker who had been training with the development squad so far this summer was given the chance to prove himself yesterday and the striker was getting himself about, winning headers and getting shots on goal. Could he be included in Rosler's plans?

Holt was linking up front with young attacker Ryan Jennings. Jennings had featured in both the Walsall and Besiktas games and was given a starting berth. The young lad should have scored when Holt managed to feed him through on goal, but Jennings lacked the composure to find the back of the net.

Instead it would be Rochdale who would score next, Wigan punished for not taking their chances and also for some sloppy defending. Bastien Hery picked the ball up skipped past a couple of challenges before firing the ball past Nicholls into the bottom corner.

For all our possession it looked like we might be going in 2-0 down at half time, but up step Tavernier for the moment of the match. The defender picking the ball up about 40 yards out, taking it forward 10 before smashing the ball in off the underside of the bar, his performance defiantly worthy of the goal.

The second half ended the way the first had, yet Wigan again continued to dominate possession. Chances were coming and going and our players just couldn't quite finish them up, the same old story yet again but at least the chances are being created.

What you can take away from the second half though is we saw Fraser Fyvie yet again put in another full shift as he continues his development. His midfielder partner Tim Chow playing all bar the last 15 minutes of the game, whilst Ryan Jennings continual caused problems, even if he couldn't find the back of the net.

If nothing else the game will have given Rosler a chance to gauge a lot of our youth players as well as get the senior players up to speed in terms of match fitness. For a player such as Grant Holt, depending on how Rosler saw his performance it could the salvation or the fall of his Wigan Athletic career.