The Opposition View: Wigan Athletic

Last updated : 01 April 2018 By Jim Bonner

Wigan fan JJ, editor of the Three Amigos Wigan ( answers some questions about the big match on Sky tomorrow.

What's your assessment of Wigan's season? Any disappointments?

It has been a terrific season after the disappointments of last year under the inept Warren Joyce. Joyce's ultra-defensive style has been replaced by a refreshing attacking approach. Reaching the last eight of the FA Cup, after knocking out three Premier League sides was something special, but the win over Manchester City will live in the collective Wigan Athletic fans' memories for years. 

The only real down time in the season was a set of poor league results in February surely influenced by the cup run. 

How popular is Paul Cook amongst Wigan fans?

Paul Cook is extremely popular. Wigan's most successful managers have been former players. Paul Jewell and Roberto Martinez are hard acts to follow, but Cook has certainly had a wonderful start to his managerial career at Wigan. He was a cultured young player with the club in the mid-1980s, playing in left midfield. He had a magic left foot!  

How have Gary Roberts and Noel Hunt been received at your club?

With Nick Powell to compete with, Roberts was never going to be a starter. He has struggled in terms of fitness, but has shown moments of quality.

Pompey sources had let us know about the special deal Hunt had  with Cook at Portsmouth. He has very rarely featured on the pitch this season. But as long as the results keep coming in, nobody is going to kick up a fuss about him. If promotion happens, neither are likely to be at Wigan next season, each being on a short-term contract.  

Who are the key players in the current Latics squad?

It is a really well balanced squad and the Wigan bench is the envy of most clubs in League One. In terms of performance, Nathan Byrne and Dan Burn have been oustanding, but there are five or six others who follow closely behind. In terms of sheer talent, Powell is way above anyone, not only at Wigan, but probably in the whole of the division.  

What are the biggest strengths and weaknesses of your team?

It could be said that the weakness is that a willingness to attack leaves them vulnerable to counterattack. But not many teams have had the ability to get past the likes of Burn and Dunkley in the centre of defence. 

In reality the weakness is probably that of fatigue. As you know, Cook is not a fan of squad rotation and tends to be loyal to his front-line players. Having fallen three games behind the other teams competing for automatic promotion, it continues to be tough keeping things going through such a crowded schedule. 

What kind of match can we expect at Fratton Park and would you take a draw if offered?

A draw is not what we are looking for. There are three teams neck-and-neck for automatic promotion and the pressure is on. But Pompey are within reach of a play-off place and with a big crowd behind them, will be hard to beat. 

Predict the outcome of the game.

A single goal victory for Latics, although a draw could also happen.