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Season Preview

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As our season opener against Reading looms ever closer. I preview Wigan’s second season in the Championship with reasonable amounts of optimism.

Michael Steele

We as fans seem to be looking forward to this season a little more than last. This will be Rosler’s first full season in charge at the DW Stadium and seems to have prepared well for the gruelling 9 months ahead. Could we be in for another magical cup run or promotion dreams?

Transfer Window:

Rosler has acted shrewdly and sensibly this summer in the window. He has added some reinforcements in midfield and has also adding some fire power up front in the form of Oriol Riera whilst James Tavernier looks to be a lively signing at full back. Rosler has also targeted left back as an area to be improved upon with the departures of Stephen Crainey and Jean Beausejour and the arrivals of Andy Taylor and Aaron Taylor-Sinclair. Adam Forshaw has been strongly linked with a move from former club Brentford and with a reported 2 bids rejected and Wigan preparing to come back with a third, can a deal be done? It’s too soon to say. However with all the arrivals to the DW Stadium, the big question remains, can we shift Grant Holt?

The 33 year old has had a torrid 12 months in Lancashire and looks to be having another 12 more. Holt was dropped from the tour of Germany and seemingly looks to be out of the running for a first team spot both down to his attitude and fitness. Rosler has expressed his acceptance of a slashed price for the former Norwich man but is unable to move Holt for nothing at all. He will free up a large chunk of the wage bill which could be used to improve areas of the squad in a more effective fashion but Holt looks set to stay until at least January if Wigan are unable to find a ‘Buyer’ of some sort.

Improvments?

One thing Coyle did well was invest in numbers and this proved vital in our gruelling 60 game season last season and it has carried to a certain extent however it seems that we have a bit of bit of a crisis in midfield. Chris McCann, Ben Watson, Shaun Maloney and James McArthur are all on the injury list leaving us short in numbers in the centre of the park. Whilst Rosler has recruited the experienced Don Cowie and the Man City youngster Emyr Huws, the former Brentford man could seem him turn to youth which couldn’t be a bad thing. Fraser Fyvie since signing in 2012 has mainly featured for the first team in various cup fixtures and Tim Chow has featured heavily in pre-season so could it time for the likes of Fyvie and Chow to shine? Rosler could look to experience in the form of Roger Espinoza and Don Cowie.

League Position: 2nd

We have a very good squad but not the best. A second shot at the league could prove the spark to Wigan’s promotion campaign. Rosler will not want the Play-Offs again and will certainly look to be in that top 2 come the trip to Brentford on the last day. If Riera can replicate the form in front of goal in the rough and tough of the Championship that he demonstrated for Osasuna last season in La Liga then the majority of our problems will be solved. Last season we didn’t score enough goals and it cost Wigan dearly in the important scrappy games of last season. As well as Adam Forshaw’s arrival (Should it happen) then we could have a threatening front line next season with the likes of Callum McManaman and Shaun Maloney creating dangerous outlets and hopefully Riera putting the ball in the net more often than not, as well as Marc Antoine Fortune providing some healthy support for the Spaniard then we could see some goals at the right end in the next 46 games. The big question is if we can deliver in the big games. The likes of Cardiff City, Derby County, Nottingham Forest, Fulham and Norwich could all be challenging in the top 6 next season and whilst playing with freedom and imagination is a pleasure to watch and should be encouraged, disciplined and professional performances should create a balance to difficult games which will often create a sensible balance between attack and defence at particular times.

Overview:

As always, we are in for an exciting season at the hands of Wigan Athletic. Should we obtain the professionalism that at times we severely lacked last season then we could be in for some happier times at the DW Stadium. Despite the old cliché "There are no easy games in football" Wigan had games particularly at home where they should have got the 3 points such as Yeovil, Millwall and Blackpool which in turn could have cost us a higher league position. German’s however don’t make the same mistake twice.