Preview

Our home form is abysmal. No wins since Barnsley at home back in March, which is a run of ten games. Of course we were harshly done by against Charlton but even so it's not good enough for a club currently scrapping at the wrong end of the league table.

Wigan will be tough opposition after a realitvely good transfer window, including signing the very exciting Welsh prospect Emyr Huws, on a permanent deal from Man City.

They also made the most of their parachute payments, signing Town target James Tavernier for what is rumoured to be twice the wages that Town could. Yet Uwe Rosler still complained about not being able to compete in the transfer market.

The fans need a result and a good performance or you can expect the murmurings and nerves around the ground to start increasing should Town lose once again.


Likely Line-up

Who knows?! Powell will certainly have to rethink using 4-4-2 with James Vaughan's absence, but would a manager who has largely used 4-4-2 dare to change to a 4-2-3-1, which would probably suit the players currently available to him?

Danny Ward's impressive cameo surely will earn him a start after Harry Bunn's quiet game against Middlesbrough. Jon Stead who came on for the injured Vaughan also impressed and is pressing a big claim to start for his hometown club.

Prediction

Town 1-1 Wigan

After Saturday's disappointment everyone involved with Town needs performance and a result. Hopefully Powell can find the right players to play in the right formation, so Town can take advantage of Wigan's inconsistent start.


Know Your Enemy

If you didn't know already, throughout this season, Thrice Champions will be getting the views of opposition fans, bloggers and podcasters so you know the story behind the club they know so much about.

Ahead of tomorrows fixture against Wigan Athletic at the John Smith's, we spoke to Martin Tarbuck who is the editor of Wigan fanzine Mudhutter and a contributor to fans website This Northern Soul.

Here's what he had to say to our questions...


TC: With the player recruitment that has gone on at Wigan, such as Emyr Huws, what would you class as a good season?

MT: I would genuinely say that we expect automatic promotion but maybe our squad isn’t as good as we think it is and unless something changes rapidly, the play offs look our best bet. And “best bet” is a bit of a misnomer given we’ve only ever won one play off game out of 14. If we can somehow squeeze in the top six we may as well opt out before we start to save the false hope.

Even at this early stage, the table has a worrying “big clubs bounce back year” feel about it and if we don’t get it right this year, then that could be it for little Wigan as we’ll be forced to sell more players and slowly tumble back to the lower leagues.

TC: Would you say the transfer window has been a success?

MT: For us, it was great business, it’s fair to say Whelan must woken up in a chipper mood two weeks ago today thankfully. It could have only gone any better if we had got shut of Grant Holt, who appears to be literally eating up the precious parachute payments. To nab four players certainly appeased the loss of James McArthur (albeit it two of the deals had been dragging on for a good week or so)

Huws, Forshaw and Delort are all young as well, which is itself pleasing. If we’re to continue to punch above our weight we need to buy and develop talent to sell on at a profit and when Coyle was in charge it seemed those days were over, as the two 33 year old centre forwards (Holt and Fortune) festering in our reserves will testify.

TC: Uwe Rosler has been a manager tipped for the top, can he take Wigan back to the PL?

MT: The turnaround since he got the job last year is astonishing and he held a fans forum before the start of  the season where he spoke so openly and honestly that I couldn’t believe my luck that we've got him. However, we also had noises from the Brentford lot about his shortcomings and laughed them off as sour grapes but there might actually be a little more to it than that.

If you share the view that we have a very strong squad then you have to ask why we’ve been so poor in so many games. His tactics, squad rotation and post match comments seem a little odd at times to say the least and worryingly – and unusually for a German – he seems to have come up just a little short at times both at Brentford and Wigan. He's definitely got that ruthless streak about him but it's not always vented in the right areas.

TC: With an indifferent start to the season, what would you say your side is lacking?

MT: Consistency! To be fair we have always had indifferent starts to the season. In the Premier League years, we’d always end up with anything up to a dozen players coming in and out, coupled with a big sale on deadline day and given we’re still “re-balancing” the squad it appears to be continuing. Maybe Rosler has been a victim of his own success by coming in and turning it around so quickly last December? He’s got a big squad and some cracking players but doesn’t appear to be finding a settled team or style of play.

TC: Was letting McCarthur leave Wigan the best thing for the club?

MT: It’s a tough one, in many ways he feels more or less irreplaceable. He’s been part of the journey we’ve been on and whereas technically he’s not the best footballer in the world, for heart, spirit and battling qualities he would run through brick walls for us. That’s the hardest type of footballer to replace in today’s money orientated game. However, a footballer’s career is short and he wants to play in the Premier League. It’s not fair to ask him to hang around here on the basis we might get promoted again. His commitment can’t be faulted for his efforts during  his time here plus we put the money to good use unlike the McCarthy money last year which had to be banked to pay the wage bill.

 TC: Which Wigan player should Huddersfield fans worry about?

MT: Callum McManaman, he’s been completely unplayable this season and it’s astonishing (and a huge relief) that nobody was bidding for him on transfer deadline day. They must have been put off due to the murder charge he’s still got hanging over him after that tackle on Newcastle’s Haidara. Oh, and he'll be knackered after an hour so if you can contain him for that long you'll be fine.

TC: Which Huddersfield player do you think Wigan fans should worry about?

MT: The names which sprung to mind were the two Adams – Hammill & Clayton – but the latter has moved on. Despite having 3 centre halves and 5 midfielders we seem awful at closing down so anyone who can hit a ball from distance can fill their boots. I know Bradford fans were up in arms over Nakhi Wells so I’m expecting him to give us a rough time and Harry Bunn seems to be quite well regarded at the millions of North West clubs he’s previously been on loan at.

TC: What is your prediction for Tuesday?

MT: We can’t continue to lose every away game but I’m not sure we’ve got the confidence to take the game to you and win it, plus we seem so frail at the back. I’d go 1-1 which is probably not much use to either of us.



Martin Tarbuck was speaking with Thrice Champions' Greg Marah.


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