Q&A With Wigan Athletic

  • March 20, 2015 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/f7dad

Paul Farrington, editor of WIGANER.net, answers our questions ahead of the 45th meeting between Wigan Athletic and Bolton at the DW Stadium.

Wanderers go into the game on the back of a 1-0 defeat at Ipswich Town on Tuesday, while Latics were beaten 2-0 at home by Watford on the same evening.

In our latest edition of Q&A, Paul (@WIGANERdotnet) answers our questions on Bolton's lucky escape in appointing Neil Lennon over Malky Mackay, why Ali Al Habsi isn't the goalkeeper he once was, as well as the regular answer as to why Adam Le Fondre is Wanderers' biggest attacking threat.

Q: Malky Mackay, who was heavily linked with the vacant Bolton job last October, has won just five of his 22 matches in charge of Wigan so far. Away wins are coming thick and fast, but you remain winless at home since August. What seems to be the problem?

A: Be thankful you didn't offer him the job back in October. Whilst we clearly had issues under Uwe Rosler, Mackay was the wrong man to take us forward.

Since his appointment our football has been negative, defensive, and we've become a long ball team. He has failed to get the best from a host of big name Championship players who subsequently left in January and we're now a peculiar mix of loanee cast-offs, young loanee starlets, or has-been's wanting one last pay day before they bow out.

The main problem is that we're toothless in attack. Marc Antoine Fortune has scored five goals in two seasons with the club whilst his partner in crime, Leon Clarke, has the commitment and determination of a Spaniard during the siesta hours.

Our alternatives include promising young Liverpool loanee Jerome Sinclair, but at 5 foot 8 he stands little chance with our route one desperation tactics.

In summary, the heart of our current problems can be put firmly at the feet of Malky Mackay who for some reason unbeknown to supporters is still in a job.

Q: Wigan have pulled off a number of great escapes in recent years. Six points from safety with eight games still to play - how do you rate your chances of survival?

A: Slim to nil. We've had some decent away day results recently but the scorelines flatter our performances.

At Rotherham, we were largely under the cosh for the duration of the game but grabbed two lucky free-kick goals through Jermaine Pennant. Whilst our home form is abysmal. Our last four home games have seen us defeated without scoring a home goal. This is embarrassing particular given the state of our performances which see us line up determined to keep a clean sheet but with any absence of attacking desire or intent.

For as long as Malky Mackay is in charge our football will be too negative and direct for us to make any fist of a survival challenge.

Q: It's coming up to five years since Ali Al Habsi swapped Bolton for Wigan, in what was initially a loan deal. After finding himself out of the side earlier in the season, do your supporters still rate him as highly as they once did?

A: On his day, Ali is a top class goalkeeper and is certainly the best goalkeeper we have at the moment.

The problem we have is that his performances have been inconsistent and he has too many bad days, certainly more frequent that they used to be. I'm sure he’ll be in goal on Saturday and, facing his former club, he will be fired up and all set for a heroic performance.

Hopefully he'll be able to emulate Joe Hart's heroics this week as we're unlikely to spend much time in the Bolton half.

Q: Players such as Ben Watson, Callum McManaman and James McArthur have departed this season, with names including Jermaine Pennant and Jerome Sinclair coming in. Who do you expect to be your biggest threat against Wanderers?

A: Sheyi Ojo is our best attacking player by far at the moment. As I have already outlined, neither of our front two, Fortune nor Clarke, could burst a paper bag, whilst James McClean is out suspended.

We therefore rely solely on 17-year-old Liverpool loanee Ojo to create something through his direct, attacking running. He is certainly a talent and a player for the future and he shows moments of real potential in his play.

Hopefully we’ll be able to team him up with Josh Murphy (on loan from Norwich City) and Jerome Sinclair (also on loan from Liverpool) to play some efficient football on the floor as our attacking force instead of the kick and run we have going at the moment.

Q: Bolton have enjoyed two relatively comfortable victories over Latics this season, both of which were played at Macron Stadium. In your opinion, which Wanderers player(s) stood out in those games and will eyes be on those same men at the weekend?

A: The young lad Zach Clough was head and shoulders above anyone in our team when we last faced you at the Macron. He was all over the pitch and was a constant threat.

Then there is Adam Le Fondre, who was a great loan signing in the window as he's always going to be a player who can score goals - just what we're short of at the moment.

Q: Wigan have lost their last six at home, while Bolton have lost their last six on the road. What is your score prediction for Saturday's game?

A: Based on our home displays since Malky's arrival, it is going to be an away win to Nil. I'm going to go for 2-0.

Hopefully our players will be able to raise their game for the derby clash, but you can guarantee we won't score a goal. A depressing fact of life ahead of a home fixture whereby we should be hoping to close the gap on Rotherham United and Fulham in the race for survival.

Mackay out!

Burnden Aces would like to thank Paul for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more from him on Twitter - @WIGANERdotnet - or by visiting WIGANER.net.

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Pos Team Pld Pts
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22 Oldham Athletic 2 0
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