Bristol Rovers late equaliser against Blackburn certainly made the draw at the weekend easier to shallow. We weren’t at our best, and Paul Cook’s decision not to change the team from the 5-1 win a week before may have had a part to play in that.
We started very sloppily against Rotherham and we could have been a couple of goals down early on against the Millers. Paul Warne’s side are very organised, and although we did have opportunities, it was a contrasting display to the hammering we gave MK Dons.
Fatigue no doubt is a factor at this stage of the season, and it was clear that Nick Powell wasn’t himself early on. He has been carrying a knock and it was no surprise when he was hauled off at half time.
The manager revealed after the match that he considered going two up top by replacing Powelly with James Vaughan, but he went with a more conservative approach by introducing Gary Roberts instead. Cook told Wigan Today:
“We could have brought on (James) Vaughan at half-time, but I think that might have meant us giving up the middle of the pitch.In these games, if you give up the middle of the pitch, you’re in trouble, and Gary Roberts was excellent when he came on.”
“You always want to give your fans that excitement of two up top, but you’ve also got respect the opposition and what they can do as well.”
That decision suggested that a point was something that Cook would be satisfied with. After all, Rotherham look like the best team we will face in the run-in, and there is something to be said for keeping the momentum ahead of the encounter against Oxford tomorrow.
United did get a good result against Southend on Saturday, but in general their form has been pretty woeful in 2018, following the seven goal thumping we gave them just before Christmas.
If we can take advantage of our game in hand at home, and get us three points ahead of Rovers, that will give us a massive boost heading into the last four matches of the season.
We would be three points ahead of the total we achieved when we got promoted two years ago, which would be a great achievement. But with Shrewsbury still hot on our heels, and having their own mid week game against Charton, we can’t rest on our laurels just yet.
Out of the three teams competing for automatic promotion, we are definitely the one with all the cards, but that top two finish will be that more secure if we do the job tomorrow evening.