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Wigan – the business end of the season (part 3)

Things are ticking along nicely, with 8 games of the season left we’re 10 points clear at the top with a game in hand over 2nd placed Barnsley. Only 3 of our remaining games are at home so there’s still some work to be done. Our home form has been excellent but on the road we’ve been less inspired.

Our style of play has served us well with 35 of 68 goals coming from crosses, mostly from the right flank, a position occupied by that man Jermaine Pennant. Perhaps I need to consider a different approach for away games though.

Goal analysis – assist locations

FA Cup

Having forced Fulham to a replay at the DW Stadium in the FA Cup 4th round, both sides failed to score and the tie went to penalties. We lost 4-5. A harsh end to the cup run but now we can focus on a strong finish in the league. We can look back with much pride having drew both games with Fulham and embarrassing Stoke in the previous round.

Youth Development

Our intake of youth players yielded very little in potential, so I’ve had to act. Having no previous philosophies agreed with the board I’ve now added 2 new philosophies to be judged on:

  1. Sign young players for the first team
  2. Develop players using the club’s youth system

Using those philosophies I’ve requested improvements to both training and youth facilities, which were agreed and are scheduled to begin at the end of the season. I’ve also brought in Phil Cannon (former Everton, Derby and Blackburn under 18’s manager) as our new Head of Youth Development. He has excellent attributes for working with youngsters and with judging player ability and potential. He’s taken charge of the under 21 and under 18 squads as well.

Additional Signings

Before the loan window shut I brought in a couple of reinforcements in the shape of Liam Palmer and Kieran Richardson. Palmer has a future fee of 800K and is is a player I’m strongly considering signing on a permanent deal. At 24 he’s still relatively young and would fill that right back slot I’ve been planning to address. With 15 for crossing he should compliment Jermaine Penannat well down the right flank.

Liam Palmer (loaned from Sheffield Wednesday)