There has been a lot of talk over the summer about how much would Uwe Rosler look to rotate the squad this season. Last season for me it was understand with us playing two games a week players needed a rest to keep going for the next game, it was the sheer number of games which caused us to fail to gain promotion, not the rotation of the squad.
This season though I would expect some, it is only natural for players to need to rest especially in the grueling Championship schedule, hence the need for a squad and not just 18 players.
Well our squad is now finally starting to gel together which was shown in the 4-0 demolition of Birmingham City at the weekend. It looked more like a team rather than a group of players thrown together. The inclusion of Ivan Ramis, or even just having a back three makes a huge difference to our team, it adds a natural balance to the squad.
It allows our midfielders to be more expressive and contained and to allow Callum McManaman to focus less on the defensive side of his game, and would we want to?
The arguable man of the match shone and contributed two first half goals. Opening the scoring on the 9th minute, the attacker who now appears to be playing more alongside Oriol Riera brought the ball into the box and cut between Birmingham players. That was before unleashing a low and hard shot into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
Wigan deserved the lead we had controlled the ball and had tried to get forward and make chances. We would have to wait for the second till the last five minutes of the half. A Birmingham attack allowed for us to quikly counter and Andrew Taylor flew down the left handside into the box. The full back who is taking his time to adjust to the wing-back role, fired a powerful shot to the left of Darren Randolph.
That doubling of the lead lifted the pressure and the players looked a little freer on the ball.
That included Callum McManaman who bagged his fourth goal in five games just before half time. Again breaking into the Birmingham box on the left handside, this time Callum cut back onto his favored right foot and curled a glorious shot into the corner.
3-0 and you sensed there could be more goals.
Unfortunately only one more goal would come late on in the game though. Latics willing to control the ball and to try and pick Birmingham off when they could. There was a spell in the second half when Birmingham looked to be creeping back into the game but our back three held strong. Leon Barnett who replaced the injured Ivan Ramis at half time, showing us all just what we have missed the strong and powerful center back helping to keep the Brimingham attack quiet.
In the end it would take a piece of Shaun Maloney magic. The attacking midfielder coming on along with goal scorer Martyn Waghorn changed the game for us going forward. Showing our ability to change games it gave us a different dynamic, the power and energy of Waghorn and the skillful feet of Maloney.
That would be the combination for the goal and Maloney weaved his way to the by-line to cut the ball back for Waghorn who tapped the ball home for the fourth goal of the afternoon.
That looked job done, but Scot Carson had to be at his best still. A long range effort from Paul Caddis had Carson parrying a shot away, straight into the path of Clayton Donaldson. Yet our goalkeeper stood up and blocked the resulting shot, world class goalkeeping! What a way to end the game.
So we clung on for our second clean sheet of the season and bagged four goals in the process, not a bad days work all round.