Wigan Athletic have started the campaign as they ended the last; needing to find some of the fighting spirit to ensure they avoid relegation trouble.
Last term Paul Cook’s side managed to find some extra quality when they needed it most in the final few weeks of the campaign, and they now need the same from two potentially key summer additions.
Cook’s side finds themselves just a place outside the Championship’s bottom three after their opening seven matches of the season having picked up just five points so far, with the Latics managing just a solitary win so far at home to Cardiff City on the opening day of the season.
That start will have been disappointing for Wigan supporters who would have been hoping that the Latics could carry their excellent form from the end of last season, which saw Cook’s side win three of their final four matches to move away from relegation trouble, into this term.
The ambition to do that would have been boosted by Wigan’s moves to sign both Jamal Lowe and Kieffer Moore in the summer, both players coming with strong pedigree having displayed good form in League 1 last campaign with Portsmouth and Barnsley respectively.
However, so far this season both players have struggled to fully integrate themselves into Cook’s side and show the same level of performances they had done the previous campaign, which saw Lowe register 15 goals in 45 matches for Portsmouth from a wide position and Moore manage 17 goals in 31 appearances as he helped fire Barnsley to promotion.
Lowe’s arrival on a three-year deal at the DW Stadium in the summer appeared to be a perfect addition to help improve Wigan’s creativity, with the 25-year-old’s pace and trickery a huge potential outlet for any side in the Championship and with the potential to be an excellent weapon to hit teams on the counter-attack.
So far though, in his first few matches for the club, Wigan supporters have not seen the best of their new winger, which is somewhat down to Cook electing for his side to go more direct into Moore, rather than looking to play their way through the thirds.
On the other hand, Moore has been an effective player for Wigan so far in terms of their build-up play, with the striker’s physical presence seeing him winning an impressive 9.2 aerial duels per game so far, but the 27-year-old has so far failed to get on the score sheet thus far despite averaging 2.2 shots per game, according to whoscored.
Wigan have only managed to find the net on six occasions so far this season, which is the joint fifth lowest tally after the first seven matches, and it is vital that Cook manages to find the right system and tactics to get the best out of both Lowe and Moore if they are to improve going forward.
The key to getting the best out of both players could well be Cook providing a style of play which allows Lowe to receive the ball in the right areas and isolate himself against opposing full-backs, that could in turn help to produce opportunities for Moore who has proven himself capable of converting chances when given the right service.