Wigan Athletic are seemingly embroiled in a battle to remain in the Championship for the second season on the bounce. The Latics avoided the drop last term due to a fine run of form towards the end of the campaign, losing only one of their final nine matches.
Paul Cook engineered their route to survival, enhancing his credentials. Cook has already caught the eye of teams in need of a manager, and retaining the services of the 52-year-old will be key for the club moving forward in their season.
Wigan have already produced a couple of excellent performances to prove that they are capable of remaining in the division, notably beating Cardiff City on the opening day of the campaign. However, their form on the road is a major concern, having lost five of their six games away from the DW Stadium.
Their record will have to improve to avoid relegation, although their form at home has been impressive, losing only to Leeds United thus far. Cook’s team have a foundation to build on and that will be the platform to use to springboard their push away from the foot of the Championship.
Contenders for the Drop?
Wigan were spared last season by the terrible performances of Bolton and Ipswich in the Championship, with the two sides filling the bottom two spots in the division with poor records. Rotherham were the other side to be relegated from the Championship, mustering only 40 points from their 46 matches. The task should be harder this time around, although Barnsley and Stoke’s slow start could play into the hands of the Latics once again.
Wigan are backed in the Betway betting odds as of the 14th October at 7/4 to drop back into League One, putting them as the third favourites for relegation. It’s not a good place to be in the minds of the bookmakers, which would see Cook’s men in the third and final spot heading down towards League One. There are plenty of reasons why Wigan are susceptible, the first being their inability to produce results on the road. That in turn places huge pressure on their form at home.
The Latics have also had issues scoring goals, which was the case last term until they found their stride in the closing stages of the campaign. Nick Powell left the club in the summer, having led the way with eight strikes last season. Wigan’s top scorer this season is Chey Dunkley with three goals, while Joe Garner and Kieffer Moore have been held in check. Those players have to start firing to move the club away from the relegation zone.
Could They Be Saved?
Wigan are not alone in their struggle to remain in the Championship. Barnsley have already parted company with their manager Daniel Stendel, who opted to leave the club after seeing an exodus of key players who won the club promotion back to the second tier. The Tykes are in peril in 23rd, having taken only six points from their opening 11 matches.
Reading have also sacked their manager Jose Gomes and opted to replace him with Mark Bowen. The Royals were not convincing last term and appear to be trending towards League One unless Bowen is able to dramatically reverse their fortunes. Huddersfield were the first team to blink in the Championship as they sacked Jan Siewert after the German failed to win a single game in the second tier following the club’s relegation from the Premier League. Danny Cowley has arrived to re-ignite their fortunes and have since recorded two victories in his five matches in the dugout.
Stoke are the other side struggling at the bottom of the table, although the pressure on Nathan Jones was eased by his team’s last-gasp win over Swansea City. They’re still rooted to the foot of the Championship, but the Potters do have an overwhelming quality in their ranks. Once they find their rhythm under Jones they should be able to move their way up the table unless endure another setback.
The odds are against Wigan and their battle to remain in the Championship. They have elements of talent and their manager is one of the best in the division, getting the most out of his players on the pitch. Another run for survival would further enhance his quality in the dugout.
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