Opposing View: Wigan Athletic
Wigan seem revitalised since changing managers. Has Uwe Rösler worked a miracle or was Owen Coyle not up to the job?
A bit of both, Owen Coyle was very enthusiastic, he reminded me of a Boy Scout leader, he talked a good game and in our first match of the season away at Barnsley we looked very impressive, unfortunately we neither won nor scored on our travels for the next three and a half months and just didn`t look fit. Our home form dipped in late November and that was that.
Granted Coyle had big shoes to fill, under Martinez we may have been relegated but we had won the FA cup, ask any Latics fan which they`d choose and it`s the cup every time, the single greatest day in our history, plus Coyle had managed Bolton...and Burnley, but mainly that lot up the road and we had watched and giggled has he guided them to relegation never for one moment believing that one day he would come to manage us!
Coyle had no game plan, his team weren`t fit and he always, always blamed someone else.
Uwe Rösler on the other hand has been a breath of fresh air, he came in and immediately turned us around, we now play football with a purpose, what he talks his team does, he appears to coach them extremely well, we are much fitter and full of confidence, we are looking a very good side.
I was impressed with what Rösler was doing at Brentford, so when it was muted that he may be our next boss I was very excited at the prospect, I am so happy that he came in, I`d say he is the real deal, just hope we can keep him with us for some length of time.
Wigan have been very impressive of late, but will you stay in the top six until the end of the season?
That is the big question, I know what will be our undoing if we don`t, we are suffering from niggling injuries due to the players not getting proper rest between games, but when you are successful you tend to play more games than other clubs because you stay in the various competitions longer, so with that in mind I wouldn`t have it any other way.
We are as good as anybody else in the league quality wise, we now have a boss that can make the best use of that talent, we are on a fantastic run, I see no reason why we won`t finish in the top six.
Is there a player that's in particularly good form at the moment?
There are quite a few, James McClean, Jordi Gomez, Emmerson Boyce, James McArthur Marc-Antoine Fortune and Martyn Waghorn have all been excellent of late, but the team as a whole have been very impressive, Rösler does tend to rotate a lot to try and keep the starting eleven fresh, but whoever comes in has been stepping up to the mark.
You conceded three against Yeovil in the week within the last ten or so minutes. Some fans are suggesting that this is indicative of fatigue being suffered by the squad due to your busy fixture list this season - your foray into Europe and the latter stages of the FA Cup being the reason for this packed schedule. Is there any truth in the statements about fatigue affecting Wigan?
We looked dead on our feet for the final 15 minutes on Tuesday, we have had a very busy and hectic season, which has been fantastic and no complaints about that, but the players are bound to tire and fatigue does play a significant part, it is the mental tiredness which undid us against Yeovil, we had been playing quite comfortable football then suddenly tired minds were making the wrong decisions on the ball and all three of their goals came from errors on our part, but it is difficult to knock any of the players and I wouldn`t point the finger at any of them.
Saturday will be our 50th competitive game this season and we have between 11 and a possible 15 still to play, some season and a very enjoyable one, the players may showing signs of fatigue but the supporters aren`t and hopefully this will help the players find that extra yard and bit of energy in the closing stages of games.
Do you have any injuries or suspensions?
Do we! All injuries, the suspension front has been kind this season, we have Shaun Maloney and Gary Caldwell both being eased slowly back after long layoffs, though they have played two halves of a reserve game each, neither are being cast as certainties to return before the season is out. Ben Watson, double break to his leg, Chris McCann, shattered knee cap are both out for the rest of the season, Leon Barnett has a hamstring strain (badly missed he is a beast), James Perch took a knock on Tuesday and had to be replaced by Thomas Rogne who is anything but match fit after being out for the best part of three months, these aren`t excuses by the way, we have a big squad and signed Jack Collison on Tuesday from West Ham for the remainder of the season to add to it.
Its all part of the game and again if you are successful and play lots of games you are bound to pick up injuries.
Finally, what's your prediction for the match?
Tough one, I`d like to predict a home win, my heart tells me 2-0 Latics win, but going with my head, I know Watford aren`t the best travellers and don`t score many away from home, otherwise you`d be in the top six too, I`ll go for a 0-0 draw.