Today’s game at Wigan is crucial in a very different respect to last season’s. Then, we were fighting relegation. Today we could go into the top half of the league, even though we have played a game fewer than everyone else. And a victory keeps us above Man U! So in many ways it could help define where we go as a club this season. There will be no love lost from the fans. At the first home game of the season the crowd was really quiet and just didn’t get behind the team enough. Today, that shouldn’t be a problem despite the absence of the Wigan chairman Dave Whelan.
But we underestimate Wigan at our peril. Last season we did just that and lost to them at home. They have improved their team this season and are on a roll. Sibierski couldn’t hit a barn door at Newcastle, yet he is on fire for Wigan at the moment. And their defence has been shored up by the signing of Melchiot.
I don’t expect Alan Curbishley to make any changes to the team which beat Birmingham, apart from bringing in a (hopefully) fit again Lucas Neill to replace Jonathan Spector at right back. Ashton will again, for some unfathomable reason, start getting splinters, rather than in the centre circle where he ought to be. It is in games likes this where he will regain his match fitness.
Right, If any of you want to come and say hello, I’ll be in the Newham bookshop at 1.45 till about 2pm on the corner of Green Street and Barking Road. Always nice to meet readers!