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Wigan Athletic boss hopes returning stars can lift the team ahead of Stoke City

Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook

Wigan Athletic travel to Stoke City in the hope of ending a horrendous away record of 1 win in league 29 games in the Championship.

Wigan (20th) sit above Stoke (23rd) in the Championship by 4 points. Both have had miserable starts to the season and will be hoping this game is the kickstart to climbing up the table.

However, Wigan’s away record is abysmal. Although, with returning stars like Keiffer Moore and David Marshall coming back after successful international breaks, Paul Cook will be hoping that it can lift the squad…

“Kieffer had two exceptionally good games; it was fantastic for Wales to qualify,” Cook continued. “David played and Scotland are on the back of a good run of three wins to finish their campaign.

“Everyone has come back well; it makes it difficult that Kieffer only comes back yesterday but that’s just part of football.

“I think it is great for Wales and the home nations that there is the chance to qualify; Scotland have a play-off coming up, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have a chance too.

“It is great for us that our players are qualifying and getting to play in these big tournaments, which only enhances football in the UK.”

Quoted from WiganAthletic.com

Wigan Athletic feeling refreshed?

After a two week break from the competitiveness of the Championship. Cook would surely be hoping the rest will have a positive effect on the players, as they look to end a run of 4 league games without a win.

Stoke, on the other hand, fired 4 past Barnsley in O’Neill’s opening game. The Potters fans will surely be hoping for that infamous new manager bounce, to climb out of the bottom three and surge up the table.

Paul Cook ended his Wigan press conference with

“For our lads, though, it is about us going down there and making sure we have done everything we can by 5pm to have won the game.”

Quoted from WiganAthletic.com

With Wigan Athletic not losing to Stoke City since 2009 in the Premier League, 10 games in total. The omens are good for a Wigan win.

Wigan Athletic hope these 2 key fixtures will turn form around

Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook

Wigan Athletic fans are getting increasingly frustrated with their team’s performances. Their away form is poor and the results aren’t going their way.

The Latics are currently 20th in the Championship. they sit on 15 points. However, teams below them are catching up.

Luton Town is on 14 points, Middlesbrough is just below on 13, Stoke City are on 11 points and Barnsley is at the bottom on 9 points.

Some fans are getting fed up of manager, Paul Cook. They think it’s his time to go. However, the Wigan team need to focus on each game.

Another criticism that the squad have received, is the fact that they don’t play a full 90 minutes. It’s like the team switch off too early and concede late on.

Wigan also had a poor game at the weekend. They lost 3-0 to Brentford at home and even went 1-0 down after 5 minutes. Cedric Kipre got sent off too.

In a bid to turn these performances around, there are a couple of fixtures that Wigan could take advantage of…

Stoke City away

Next Saturday, Wigan will face Stoke away. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware of Wigan’s poor away form.

I am also aware that Stoke won their last game against Barnsley, 4-2. This means they could be feeling confident ahead of their clash with Wigan.

However, Stoke City is below Wigan in the league and the Latics should take full advantage of that. If they can go ahead early, they should stand a chance of taking all three points.

Wigan Athletic away at Luton Town

On the 7th of December, Wigan will travel to Luton. Even though this is another away clash, like many fans, I hope they will be able to take advantage of the fact Luton are currently below them in the Championship.

Luton’s last win was on the 19th of October against Bristol City. Wigan needs to take advantage of that fact and try to take all 3 points.

If they don’t manage to take the maximum points from at least one of these games, I think fans will make it clear that it is time for Cook to go.

Stoke City pull their man from Bolton Wanderers squad

This weekend saw Bolton Wanderers kicked out of the FA Cup by League Two’s Plymouth Argyle. One player that wasn’t in the Bolton squad was Thibaud Verlinden.

Now, The Bolton News have reported why.

Verlinden is only on loan to Bolton. Like many players that have been recruited recently for the Trotters, he has been very impressive so far.

However, fans have been worried about what Bolton will do if these players have to return to their parent clubs soon.

Thibaud wasn’t in Bolton’s side that faced Plymouth this weekend. This had fans questioning what had happened to him.

The Bolton News has now revealed how it was actually Stoke who stopped their man from playing.

Stoke City

The winger is on loan from Stoke until January. However, new Stoke City boss, Michael O’Neill pulled him from Bolton’s FA Cup clash.

This now means that the Belgian player could enter Stoke’s squad for the competition. It has also confirmed Bolton’s worries about Stoke calling him back in January.

Plymouth Argyle

Bolton lost 1-0 this weekend against the League Two side. It was clear that they lacked creativity on the pitch, which was their main downfall. However, they can now start to concentrate more on clawing back in the league.

Whether Thibaud could have made a difference to the game or not will never be known for sure. However, finding a January replacement for the winger will be a hard job for Keith Hill, who up to now as got his recruitment right.

How is Stoke’s Thibaud Verlinden getting on at Bolton?

Stoke fans were shocked when Bolton signed their winger, Thibaud Verlinden. He’s only on loan with Keith Hill’s side but Stoke fans thought he would be ready to join their first team this season.

As a Bolton fan, I would like to thank Stoke. Verlinden has been absolutely brilliant for us so far.

The skill that the 20 year old has is unbelievable. He has also shown the determination with the rest of the Bolton team to try and get points.

Stoke fans will welcome him back with open arms. This spell in League One will prepare him for regular football if Stoke want to feature him in their first team.

Unfortunately, he suffered a groin injury a few weeks ago and missed two games. However, he’s back now and fit.

Current form

In 7 games, he has scored 2 goals. The youngster is talented. Not only can he score goals and contribute to others but he can also inspire with his footwork.

He isn’t afraid to take on opposition and get stuck in. I would say that he is definitely getting the most out of his time at Bolton.


Before he returns to Stoke in January, there are still a few things he needs to work on.

One thing is fouls. When Verlinden played against Blackpool, he picked up a yellow card and the referee had to have a word with him. That didn’t stop him however, as he continued to be quite careless on the pitch.

If Wigan Athletic start these 3, they easily beat Stoke City

Back to the DW we go. Thank god after Saturday. It’s only a League Cup tie, however a good opportunity for players that haven’t started yet to showcase themselves for Wigan Athletic.

Wigan Athletic host Stoke City in the first round of the League Cup. Latics return home after losing 3-0 to Preston on Saturday, while Stoke City have started the season poorly, losing 3-1 to Charlton Athletic in their second league game.

So, a return for Nick Powell may be on the cards. However, let’s take a look at a few players that may start for the home side…

Jamal Lowe

This is a perfect time for Lowe to start his first Latics game. There’s little pressure on the match, of course, we’d like to win, but it’s not a competition we’re likely to win, so it’s a bit of a free hit. I felt we were crying out for a Lowe type player on Saturday, someone with pace and quality around the box. We just lacked creativity on Saturday, all too pedestrian and predictable. Let Lowe have a go, he may well earn himself a starting spot vs Leeds United on Saturday.

Callum Lang

It’s likely Lang will be loaned out again, following the arrival of Bright Enobakhare on deadline day. However, I think the youngster has earned himself an opportunity to start a competitive game for Latics. Stoke’s defence looked very poor vs Charlton, perhaps this will be an open game and a one with plenty of goal scoring opportunities. Lang is a natural finisher, what better way to start his career, than with a couple of goals on home debut.

Joe Williams

Williams arrived from Everton during this summers transfer window, with a big reputation. He’s known for his tough-tackling and hard work, we could’ve done with that on Saturday. Although Preston had an extra man in midfield, that Cook didn’t match up against, we got completely dominated. Lee Evans and Lewis McLeod aren’t defensive midfielders in my opinion, especially away from home, good footballers yes but tough midfielders that can win battles, I’m not so sure. Williams sounds better suited to them affairs, let’s give him a chance and see what he’s got.

Stoke City & Celtic in a battle for Huddersfield Town defender

Stoke and Celtic are both interested in signing Huddersfield defender Tommy Smith. Smith has been at The Terriers for six years, making 200 appearances.

Smith captained the club, before handing the armband to Christian Schindler last season. He has significant competition at The John Smith’s stadium from Flo Hadergjonaj and highly-rated prospect Demeaco Duhaney, another product of Manchester City currently at Huddersfield.

With Smith only making 6 starts last campaign, he may be looking to further his career and secure first-team football. Celtic boss Neil Lennon is looking to strengthen his side ahead of another SPL campaign, Smith offers that leadership and stability that Celtic will be searching for.

While Stoke is also being credited with an interest. After a poor first season in the Championship, Nathan Jones is working hard to completely revamp The Potters. Stoke have already signed six players this summer, including Adam Davies (Barnsley), Nick Powell (Wigan) and Lee Gregory (Millwall) as they look to build a side capable of gaining promotion next season.

I would be hugely surprised if Huddersfield opted to cash-in on Smith. He’s the type of player you need to be successful in the Championship. A tough, hard-working defender that will give 100% in every game. Maybe Jan Siewert will look to follow the Norwich blueprint in building a young, quality footballing side. It’s a huge risk, you need to find that balance between experience and quality. Smith has a wealth of experience, and I’m assuming is a big player around the dressing room at Huddersfield.

Two potential Wigan Athletic replacements for Nick Powell

It’s official, Nick Powell is a Stoke City player. It took me 10 minutes to write that. Anyway, we have to move on, he’s gone, signing a replacement is the priority and must be a good one.

Powell has been massively influential for us this past two seasons. In League One, he was just on another level, scoring 15 goals and assisting at least 100, while looking as if he was playing a training game.

Last season didn’t quite go to plan. Injury basically ruined his chance of him running the league. Coincidentally, his best performance last campaign was arguably at Stoke in September, I wonder if they scouted him then?

Powell lives in Crewe, near Stoke, and they’re a club looking to be promoted within the next couple of years. It was a no brainer, I never expected him to stay at Latics. Be happy it happened, not sad that’s it over (he says while wiping the tears away).

So, who can fill his void…

Henri Lansbury

Lansbury is a player I’ve rated since his Forest days. He’s one of the players that always seems to score a screamer, you catch them when your half asleep watching Quest highlights at 23:45 while tucking into your kebab and a final can of lager. Or is it just me that does that? Back on topic, he’s a goal scoring midfielder and very unlikely to stay at Villa, given their promotion.

Also, Lansbury has experience of winning promotion and season-defining matches (I’m thinking for when we’re in League One in a couple of years time). Powell will be a huge miss, as he would be for most Championship sides, we can’t dwell on it for too long. The club did everything to keep him, sign a quality replacement and a few of us will forgive you. One or two.

Lewis Baker

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Get Lampard on the phone next week and ask for a Reece James equivalent. Lewis Baker would do. A player that possesses the ability to turn a game on its head (as Powell used to, I promise that’s the last time I’ll mention him) and is on the back of a successful loan spell at Reading.

Baker has significant experience in the EFL now after spells at MK Dons, Leeds, Middlesbrough and Reading in recent years. We can’t afford to take a gamble on someone like Ben Woodburn to replace Powell, if it failed, we would really struggle. Baker would almost guarantee us goals from midfield and create plenty of chances.

‘Right through Powell’s legs skipper’ Wigan Athletic fans reaction to drawing Stoke City in the Carabao cup

Wigan will host Stoke in the first round of the Carabao Cup, hardly an inspiring tie.

Although, the draw was done in Morrison’s, so it’s slightly better. One interesting thing that could from the game, Nick Powell vs Wigan…I predict yellow cards.

The tie will take place in the week commencing Monday 12th August.

Lets see if Wigan fans are excited to play Stoke…

Is Wigan Athletic midfielder move to Stoke City, is it a good move?

Nick Powell is expected to complete a move to Stoke at the end of the month, following him rejecting a new contract offer at Wigan. The former Man United forward is in his second spell at the DW Stadium, will he regret a move away?

“Nick Powell is the next Paul Scholes” Sir Alex Ferguson’s words, not mine. His career has been plagued by injuries and poor career choices, but he’s still a top player on his day.

The 2011/12 season was when Powell’s career took off. He won every award at Crewe’s end of season awards and scored a wonder-goal in their play-off final win at Wembley. United came calling, dubbing him as a future England international.

The youngster was sent on loan to Wigan, where he set the world alight at our place. A joy to watch, made the game look so easy. Powell scored our first ever European goal against Maribor, before scoring again against Rubin Kazan. Although the highlight of that loan spell was undoubtedly the overhead kick vs Bolton, I had to get that in somewhere.

After a couple of failed loan spells at Leicester and Wolves, Powell came home, this time permanently. He suffered from injury for a majority of the season, when returning he almost kept us up single-handedly. Wigan 0-2 Barnsley 79 minutes. Powell comes on, scores a hat-trick, we win 3-2. That’s what he does.

The bloke was just different class in League One during the 2017/18 campaign, it wasn’t fair on other teams, we basically had 12 men. That season, Powell scored 15, assisted about 120 and didn’t really break a sweat. Powell > Dack by the way.

Last season was ruined by injury, again. After starting the season very well, hamstring troubles kept him out the side. Wigan managed him perfectly, only using him when we absolutely needed his magic, even subbing him off after 20/30 minutes sometimes.

Will he get that special treatment at Stoke? Hmm. He’s a god at Latics, he’ll be welcome to come back at any point. Just reject Stoke, stay at Wigan. You know it’s the right thing to do.

Right, someone pass a tissue.

THE LOWDOWN: Man United Linked with Another Championship Youngster, Stoke’s Nathan Collins – Could He Cut It at Old Trafford

Ahead of what will hopefully be a busy summer window for Manchester United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks eager to bolster his side with young talent.

Recommended by Darren Fletcher, United look set to make a move for 18-year-old Irishman and Stoke City centre half Nathan Collins. With the terrible performances of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling of late, it seems apparent another centre back is necessary.

Still failing to replace Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand so many seasons on, United have been left with a void at the back. With Victor Lindelof showing signs of promise, Solskjaer is desperate for a fixed term partnership at the back. Therefore, what the manager can learn from his predecessors’ mistakes, is that to not sign short term players for long term problems.

At just 18-years-old, the Irish defender Collins has shown great potential during his time at the Potters. Although perhaps he may not be just ready to play week in week out at United at the moment, signing young talent will certainly be a step in the right direction for the Red Devils, as they look to build a solid foundation for the future.

Perhaps Collins could be the first signing of what will be the rebuild of an ageing and lacklustre Man United team. With Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes and others making their moves into the first-team, Solskjaer looks apparent to favour youth. With an unmotivated team that should be ripped apart this transfer window, hungry youngsters like Collins will have the opportunity to prove themselves on the big stage and hopefully re-ignite the United Way.

Man United fans are you excited at the news of Nathan Collins possibly arriving?