Well we`re at that time of year when it is customary to either have a look back at the past 12 months or take look forward at what we can expect to be coming our way in the not too distant future, I have decided to look forward.
We stand, at the start of 2011, 17th in the Premier League, with 20 points after 19 games, where I expected us to be? No, I thought we might have been a couple of places further up the table at this stage, but a draw against Newcastle later today and that will be accomplished, a win and we could possibly be up to 12th spot, so the future is bright, is it not?
I`d say very bright, we have a dynamic young manager in charge, a talented squad of players, with some very exciting youngsters, possibly the most exciting squad that we have ever had.
James McCarthy is one such exciting player but unfortunately he`s been injured since October 23rd and boy has he been missed. Only turning 20 last November, a player of his age has no right to command the presence in the team that he does, McCarthy is destined to be a top, top player. Scheduled to be back in action by early February the young Scot will be a shot in the arm to the first team when he gets back.
Between now and McCarthy`s planned return the Latics have a string of games that should hold no fear, including Newcastle, Bolton, Fulham, Villa, West Brom and Blackburn, some positive results there and we could be almost safe by the middle of February.
Of course the very nature of football doesn`t always allow results to go according to form, if it did we`d all be millionaires predicting results on the coupons, but with suspensions, N`Zogbia, injuries, McCarthy, Moses and Di Santo and a transfer window that`s now open, spanners can quite easily get in the spokes, throw into that mix poor refereeing decisions and any number of factors can upset results, even so I still believe there is enough in the squad to have a cushion between the Latics and the bottom three by the time February is through.
The footballing side of the club is moving in the right direction with success being brought at both youth and reserve level providing a great foundation to build on for future success of the first team. Martinez is the first manager that we have had for a number of years who has been good to his word about developing the youngsters. With all sides at the club playing their football in the same style, it will make transition easier for the players as they progress. It is important to see the bigger picture here and congratulate Martinez for his work and for being true to his word. The reserves top of the Premier League Reserves league and the youth team unbeaten all season, something is going right.
The managers philosophy of playing football not hoofball is not always appreciated but it is good to see that club owner Dave Whelan can see further than the end of his nose, I suppose that`s the beauty of having an ex-top flight football player as chairman, he understands football, he sees the long term plan rather than the short term fix.
With Roberto Martinez in charge, looking at the players he has brought to the club and the style we endeavour to play, the future, both short term and long term does look bright. I feel we are set to climb up the league to finish the season in lower mid-table position, around 14/15th and push on next year for a top half finish.
The futures bright, the futures the Latics
Latics and Proud
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