Wigan Athletic boss Owen Coyle can’t wait to be reunited with the team’s passionate supporters for Sunday’s Ipswich Town clash after the Latics’ fans impressive turnout at their first European match.
Having only landed back in the UK in the early hours of Friday morning after their 0-0 stalemate with Belgians Zulte Waregem in Bruges, the players reported for training only hours later in preparation for the weekend.
It’s the sort of turnaround that Coyle’s boys and the fans will have to get used to with away trips to Russia and Slovenia in the coming months.
“We’re going to need that togetherness throughout the season, it’s not going to be easy but if we show the same attitude in the future then we’ll get to where we need to be,” the Scot told the club’s website.
“I look forward to welcoming all those fans back to our home for another big game,” he said, adding the die-hard supporters ignored financial and logistical difficulties to make Thursday’s occasion a special one.
“I believe many had to walk around three or four kilometres to the ground but you wouldn’t have noticed from the noise they made. I was overwhelmed by their support.”
Wigan, lying 15th in the table, need all the support they can get after a patchy start to the Championship with two wins, two draws and two defeats.
Fortunately Coyle has a squad of sufficient size that allowed him to rest a number of key players for the game in Belgium.
First team regulars Jean Beausejour, Roger Espinoza, Marc Antoine-Fortune and Ben Watson were all on the bench and Shaun Maloney did not travel to Belgium.
Coyle said he would look to “freshen up” his starting line-up, with Maloney and Beausejour in line for a return though front man Grant Holt remains an injury concern and is unlikely to feature.
Ali Al Habsi, Gary Caldwell and Ivan Ramis all remain on the club’s long-term injury list.
This is the first league meeting between the two sides since the 2004/05 season when each won their respective home games, however the Latics came out on top 4-1 in their 2008 League Cup clash.
Image courtesy of FATV via YouTube, with thanks.