Well, here we are, entering a new year after a Christmas season of festivities but still with a feeling of dread about the five months ahead in the Championship campaign. Alas, Wigan fans are not used to the peace and goodwill that the holidays bring as it is normally about this time that the awful truth is once again rammed home. Regrettably, to say, Wigan are yet again poised to fight for their Championship lives.
On New Year’s day 2019, the Latics were only four points from safety but a year later, and in 2020, Wigan find themselves stuck in the relegation zone, it sadly is a case of same old, same old. Is there any way that Paul Cook’s men can get themselves out of this position by the time early May comes around?
Wigan fans will hope so after Kieran Dowell joined on loan until the end of the 2019/2020 campaign, but there’s no guarantee after he failed to impress at Derby County during the first half of the season.
Can the Everton man come good?
It does feel like we are clutching at straws here a bit given that Dowell is only at the DW Stadium because he didn’t impress Phillip Cocu enough for the Rams manager to guarantee him more minutes during the second half of the season. Coco relayed this message to Everton and that was it, Dowell was off and now finds himself a Wigan player until May.
It would be remiss to say that only bad players get recalled or sent back to their parent clubs in January. Eddie Nketiah is a very good player but was recalled back to the impressive Emirates Stadium in North London by Arsenal as Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa wasn’t playing him enough, the decision was entirely warranted with no one in particular to blame.
The Whites are no weaker because of it and, as of the 10th of January, are still priced at 1/2 by betting site Betway to win the division. As far as Nketiah goes, he will in all likelihood play for Arsenal in the Premier League during the back end of the season. Sometimes things just don’t click with every party better off calling it a day, so it wouldn’t be fair to make any sweeping judgments regarding Dowell’s time at Pride Park as one size doesn’t fit all.
After all, the 22-year-old did help Sheffield United gain promotion to the Premier League last season during a six-month loan spell with the Blades. Dowell managed 17 appearances and scored two goals and assisted one, which can be looked on as a successful loan.
“A first goal for Kieran Dowell, and what a crucial goal it may prove to be!” 🙌
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) December 27, 2019
Dowell was also a hit at Nottingham Forest after joining them during the 2017/2018 season, this time enjoying a full season after turning out an impressive 43 times for Forest. At the end of his loan spell at the City Ground, Dowell had scored ten goals and assisted five times which is very respectable going in anyone’s book.
The boy can obviously play, but like all loan signings, they can be a bit of a mixed bag with success dependent on how quickly they hit the ground running in their new environment.
Time is not a luxury Wigan have
Unfortunately, Wigan can’t afford for Kieran Dowell to start slowly as they need points and lots of them if they are to avoid relegation, which looks a distinct possibility now. It is also too late in the day to sack Paul Cook despite many asking how long he should be given to get Wigan out of this mess.
Cook had all the right ingredients to get Wigan out of this bit of trouble last year and targeted the two away games against Leeds and Birmingham at the end of the campaign to finally break free, after a stunning draw with eventual league winners Norwich the game before. So no matter how anxious the club may become, Cook has to be given time to see the Tics to safety and then, if a change is still needed, address that concern in the summer, but he has certainly earned the right to try and get the club out of this hole with his two-and-a-half-year spell.
Sacking the 52-year-old now will almost certainly result in relegation given the lack of options to come in and replace him; how many good managers capable of steering the 2013 FA Cup winners to calmer waters would be prepared to come in with relegation hanging over the club? Many chancers sure, but Wigan Athletic need the complete opposite.
Cook needs some flair from his new toffee
No team has scored fewer goals in the Championship than Wigan and that is the root cause of the problems facing the club. Kieran Dowell will be asked to get this team going as they shake off the shackles and begin to find some rhythm.
It’s all set up quite well actually when you think that Dowell needs this move to work just as much as Wigan do. They are both in somewhat of a downward spiral and could well be collaborating at a time that gives both parties an excellent deal. The floor is yours Kieran Dowell and there is no better time to prove your worth in the English game.
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