The EFL postponements have come at a really bad time for Wigan Athletic as the Latics were sailing towards retaining their place in the Sky Bet Championship.
The Premier League and EFL came to a halt last week following instructions from the relevant health organisations, with the matches being postponed until the 3rd of April. The enforced break comes at a bad time for Paul Cook’s side who were hitting form at the business end of the season, they are six games unbeaten and had started to pull away from the bottom three.
Although it can be argued that a break for footballers should be a good thing in terms of their recovery from injuries and being sharp enough for the upcoming fixtures, it can have detrimental effects mentally on the players.
Here are THREE knock-on effects the break will have on Wigan…
As mentioned previously, the Latics were on a very good run of form having gone six unbeaten with some big results against sides towards the top end of the Championship. At any level in professional football, winning breeds confidence into players and with the Latics’ incredible run of recent form, the players would have been confident coming up against anyone. They had just started to build up a bit of momentum as they approach the business end of the season and had managed to climb out of the bottom three before the postponements.
As it sits, Wigan are two points ahead of Charlton Athletic with nine games to play, but with play not restarting until the beginning of April, the between competitive matches could seriously harm Wigan’s confidence. When a side are on a run like Wigan’s, they will want to be playing games almost every single day just to retain the confidence that they have built up over the last few weeks. During training their standards might slip, and this could have huge implications on the form of the side when the clubs are back in action next month.
One positive effect that the break will have on Wigan is that it will help them on the injury front, the Latics have a host of players who were destined to miss the rest of the campaign but the four week setback will help aid the recovery of these players. For instance, Gary Roberts looked set to miss the majority of the campaign after he picked up a reported hamstring strain in the draw with Luton Town earlier this month.
The season looked as if it was over for one of Wigan’s stars, however with the games being pushed further back it is believed that Roberts will be able to play a role between now and the end of the campaign. His performances in recent weeks have been crucial to Wigan’s impressive run of form and to have a personality like Roberts return to the dressing room to help their survival prospects will come as a huge boost.
Finding the net regularly
Wigan Athletic currently posses the second lowest scoring strike force in the Championship with the Latics finding the net on just 38 occasions in the league this season, with only Jonathan Woodgate’s Middlesbrough converting less chances. Wigan’s inability to finish their chances came to the forefront when the Latics could only muster up a 0-0 draw with basement side Luton.
Cook’s side had several opportunities but were not able to find a way past Croatian stopper Simon Sluga, who was in inspired form at the DW Stadium. But an enforced break could be huge for Wigan in terms of putting the ball in the back of the net and it is very possible that we see a very different side when they go forward when the season finally gets back underway. Their time on the training field will give Cook enough time to come up with new ways to ensure that the Latics score enough goals between now and the end of the Championship season.