Despite being one of the form teams in the Sky Bet Championship, Wigan Athletic are not yet safe from the fear of relegation.
Unexpected wins over promotion favourites Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion have seen Wigan’s destiny enter their own hands. The Latics sit in 19th place in the Sky Bet Championship and are two points clear of Middlesbrough who occupy that final relegation spot.
The season has gone very similarly to the one previous, with Wigan always involved in the relegation conversation until they finally pulled away from Rotherham United in the last few weeks of the season. Wigan fans will be hoping for something similar this term.
Here are three factors that will define Wigan’s second successive season in the Sky Bet Championship…
Finding the net
Wigan have struggled to put the ball in the net season with statistics showing that they are the second lowest scorers in the Sky Bet Championship. When one takes a glance at their top scorers list for the current campaign, right at the top is an injured centre back that will see no more action for the season. Chey Dunkley suffered a fractured tibia and fibula in the Latics’ impressive win over Reading.
Kieffer Moore looks set to have a crucial role to keep Wigan Athletic up. He also props up the list of Wigan top goalscorers this year. The Welsh international enjoyed a fruitful campaign last year as he helped fire Barnsley back to the Sky Bet Championship and Wigan will be looking for him to rediscover that form to keep them away from the drop.
Winning breeds confidence at any level in professional football and if one team in the relegation fight should be full of it, it should be Wigan. They have gone five unbeaten with impressive wins over Millwall, Reading and West Brom in recent weeks with the result against the Baggies coming as a shock to Championship followers across the country.
With Luton Town and Huddersfield Town to come in the next couple of weeks, Paul Cook’s side should be extremely confident of putting one foot into the Sky Bet Championship 2020/2021 season.
Keeping the door shut
The Latics haven’t been so bad at this in recent weeks, showing that they can be resolute by keeping clean sheets against both Leeds United and West Brom – two sides who have tremendous quality going forward for the level. Out of all the teams inside the bottom eight, they have the second-best defensive record with only Jonathan Woodgate’s Middlesbrough conceding fewer goals.
Since the Latics don’t score for fun, it will be crucial in the run in that they are able to keep teams out. 1-0 seems to have been a common scoreline for Cook’s side in recent weeks and they may have to replicate that on a couple of occasions to ensure their safety.