It is unusual to see such a big disparity in league position when comparing the home and away tables. After 20 matches, Wigan sat second in the standings for home form.
That placed them comfortably between Leeds and Norwich, which is not bad company to be in. Yet those two also shared the top two spots in the away table, with that kind of consistency propelling them to the top of the Championship table and to the forefront of promotion predictions.
The 20-match mark is an appropriate time to take stock of results, with all of the Championship sides having completed 10 home and 10 away matches. For Wigan, those first 10 trips on the road yielded just 4 points, with only Millwall and Rotherham holding worse away records at that stage of the season.
When Wigan went to Stoke in August and comprehensively beat the recently relegated side 3-0, few would have anticipated that away matches would become such a concern in this campaign.
Latics certainly wouldn’t have expected their next away point to not arrive until December, although a trip to Bolton is one of the more forgiving away fixtures. This tendency to turn a home ground into a fortress while struggling on the road is often found in newly-promoted sides; clubs grow accustomed to winning in front of their own fans, but that winning feeling is harder to maintain when travelling to clubs with more wherewithal and nous than in the league below.
Wigan find life much easier at the DW Stadium. Cardiff City can sympathise, as the new arrivals to the Premier League achieved 10 out of their 11 points in front of their home fans, in their first 15 league games.
Observers clearly don’t think that this is a sustainable approach for the Bluebirds; Cardiff are favourites for relegation in premiership betting odds as of December 5th, with a price of 1.55 on the Betfair Exchange reflecting how their away form is expected to consign them to Championship football next season.
Wigan fans can say the same about their club with mixed emotions. On the one hand, a newly-promoted side should be thankful that such miserable away form hasn’t plunged them into a relegation dogfight.
On the other hand, such a formidable home record places Wigan alongside sides with genuine designs on securing automatic promotion. If that home record can be maintained in conjunction with improvements on the road, Wigan can look upwards in the second half of the season.
After the 4-0 defeat to Preston in October, the nadir of Wigan’s travels this season, Paul Cook stressed that he wouldn’t over-analyse the contrasting home and away records. It ultimately doesn’t matter where points are picked up, but there is no denying that Wigan are getting by in a curious manner.
Cook may outwardly be unconcerned by results, but he will surely be keen to give a travelling Wigan contingent more to cheer on the road. While brushing off the disparity as a curiosity is acceptable as long as Wigan are safe in mid-table, resolving the difficulty of picking up away points could quickly propel Wigan to the verge of the playoffs.
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