Wigan Athletic managed to produce a spirited comeback to ensure they picked up a point in a 2-2 draw at home to Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.
Paul Cook’s side headed into the game looking to get back on track after they were beaten 2-1 by Preston North End last weekend, which saw their run of back to back wins against Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United brought to an end, but the Latics ensured they would avoid successive defeats with a comeback against Middlesbrough.
It had looked like Wigan were going to secure a potentially crucial three points when they started the game on the front foot in the first half and went 1-0 up through Sam Morsy on 29 minutes, before Lewis Wing’s second half brace, after Chey Dunkley had been sent off, put them behind. However, an own goal from Harold Moukoudi earned them a point.
Here then, we take a look at THREE things we clearly learnt about Wigan following their draw with Middlesbrough…
Wigan show their resilience
Wigan were looking in real danger of getting cut adrift in the Championship with the Latics struggling to pick up points on a consistent basis between the end of October through to the festive period, but since then Cook’s side have now managed to collect seven points from their last four matches, as well as securing a 3-2 win at Birmingham City on New Year’s Day.
That suggests that Wigan are starting to show signs that they have the resilience needed to pick up points that could help keep them in the league during the rest of the campaign, and that was on show against Middlesbrough with the Latics showing a real reaction to their defeat against Preston.
The way Wigan managed to re-group and go again after they had gone down to ten men and saw their lead turned into a deficit against Middlesbrough, will inspire confidence that Cook’s side have the mental resilience to help them get out of trouble.
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Wigan need to re-find ability to win at home
At the start of the campaign Wigan were heavily reliant on their ability to win their home matches in the Championship to keep themselves out of the relegation zone, with the Latics having secured four wins from their opening six home matches of the campaign.
However, since they beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 at home towards the end of October, Wigan have managed to win only of their last nine matches in front of their own supporters in the Championship, and having taken a lead into half time that looked like it could change against Middlesbrough.
The Latics, though, had to settle for avoiding defeat, but they will now be needing to re-find their ability to win matches on home soil on a regular basis, if they are going to be able to avoid relegation to League One.
Wigan will need to find a solution to Dunkley’s absence
One of the biggest impacts the Middlesbrough game will have on the Latics in the near future is that Dunkley will now miss the Latics’ trip to Cardiff City on Saturday, and the defender’s absence will be a huge loss for Cook’s side.
Dunkley has arguably been Wigan’s most influential player all season, with the defender both managing to offer a usually calm and commanding presence at the heart of their defence, as well as an ability to be a real threat in the opposition penalty area from set pieces, having netted six time already this term.
However, his absence will mean that Brighton loanee Leon Balogun should get the chance to come into the defence and show that he can make a difference for the Latics, and it will be interesting to see how he performs after he came off the bench against Middlesbrough.