Date: 16th November 2017 at 8:19am
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We are having a bit of a dismal run of late, but the top 2 are still in striking distance surprisingly, Shrewsbury Town still leading the way 7 points above the Bantams and this weekend’s opponents in 2nd are only 6 points above City with the result come Saturday afternoon could make the gap seem insurmountable or give us a massive boost and put us in the Latics’ shadow.

Wigan away is the first of 3 very tough games for the Bantams which is followed by Scunthorpe at home and a nice away trip to Shrewsbury could see City not picking up a point and falling a further 9 points behind the top 2. But a bit of saving grace is that during this mini horror fixture run, both clubs have to play Rotherham United which however they go, results could benefit City in one way or another.

At pre season I said how easy League 1 is compared to recent years and it really is there for the taking, and the proof is in the pudding with surprise package Shrewsbury Town leading the way as everyone else, City included not really taking this season by the scuff of the neck. What concerns me more is not this season, but looking at the relegation scrap in the Championship, there will be some big clubs coming down come next summer and League 1 will be a lot more competitive. So we really need to start playing like I know how we can, and like I know how McCall can make us play.

We can add to the best away record in League 1.
5 wins and 2 draws with only a single loss away from home is how City have fared as we are just passing the first 3rd of the season which has us with the best away record in the 3rd division. We may have conceded a few more goals than teams around us, but we have the highest scoring record and the largest positive goal difference throughout the division. Just goes to show how bad our home form is, the Bantams the only team in the top 17 to lose 4 times, but let’s remember, Wigan is away and that gives me a bit more confidence in getting a result, experiencing only just 1 loss on the road since the 3-0 mauling last season at Bramall Lane. On paper, a trip to the far side of Greater Manchester may seem a bit daunting to some supporters and fans, but something tells me, our players and McCall won’t be.

They can add to the best home record in League 1.
Wigan are unbeaten at home this season and having conceded the least number of goals at home in the division with oppositions finding the net twice in 8 games. There is no denying, 2nd placed Wigan pose a real danger at this level and can turn anyone over on their day, so even the elite of the 3rd division would definitely need to be on their best to beat Cook’s Latics this season. City have been playing poor, scraping results and to some a shock home result last weekend against bottom of the table Plymouth Argyle will let doubt creep into the City psyche, so can McCall really get his troops to overcome one of our hardest tests 2017/18 is able to throw at us.

Head to head and form
27 games
10 Wigan Athletic wins
9 Bradford City wins
8 draws

It is a bit of a surprise our 2 clubs have only played each other 27 times, the most famous has to be back in October 2012 when we faced the then Premiership club in the League cup that Tuesday evening. The game ended 0-0 with the 4th division Bantams matching their more illustrious opponents and then City continuing our record penalty shoot out success knocking the Latics out. What a joy it was getting home nearing 2am that night just to get up 4 later for work. That is what I think when I think of Wigan, but hey, what City supporter doesn’t? The last match at the DW Stadium ended 1-0 to the Latics in the 2015/16 season where they managed to acquire 4 points off the Bantams that season, the winning goal scored by a familiar name with the Bantam faithful, a certain Haris Vuckic. You have to go back to November 1993 for the last City win away at Springfield Park in the league, a 1-2 victory which helped the Bantams gain the double that season, which in fact is the last time either team managed the double over the other. We also managed the double back in the 1983/84 season, the previous season offered the Latics their only double over us. If you class the penalty shoot out as a win in that League cup run, that would put both City and Wigan on 10 wins apiece.

Wigan Athletic last 6 LWDWWD
Bradford City last 6 LLWWWL
Wigan Athletic last 6 home LWDWWW
Bradford City last 6 away WLWWDW

City have failed to score in their last 2 games and the Latics are about to take on their 5th home game of 6 consecutive matches in a mini home run schedule. The Latics last home match was a loss to Accrington Stanley 0-4 over a week ago in the Trophy, and having a weekend off during the international break you would expect the Latics to be a little bit fresher and have had a bit more time to prepare for the match than the Bantams. This weekend we see the best home defence in the 3rd division take on the best away attack, could we see the gap reduce to 3 points or increase to 9?

Boz’s match verdict: Draw

5 Fun Facts

1. The only current player to play for both the Latics and City is Lee Evans. Evans was on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 2015/16 season and proved a fan favourite making 41 appearances in all competitions and scoring 4 times. Evans is currently on loan from Wanderers at the DW Stadium so far making 15 appearances scoring 3 times.

2. Athletic leading scorer, Nick Powell could be the most expensive player on the pitch having cost Manchester United £4m back in June 2012 from Crewe Alexandra. In 4 years at Old Trafford, he managed 3 appearances off the bench in the Premiership scoring once, and 6 cup appearances. This season Powell has netted 7 times which is 1 more time than his total last season.

3. Wigan Athletic owner, Dave Whelan was actually born in Bradford, 24th November 1936.

4. Ex City player, Peter Atherton is the Development Squad Coach at Wigan Athletic, during his City career which ran between 2000-2005, Atherton had represented the Bantams 103 times scoring 3 times. Having played with City in the top 3 flights in the English game, meaning Atherton has experienced relegation twice at Valley Parade, both from the Premiership in 2001 and from the 2nd tier in 2004, this was after experiencing relegation as Sheffield Wednesday Captain in 2000. Atherton started his playing career at Wigan making 177 appearances scoring once between 1988-91 before they sold him onto Coventry City for £300k. He later commanded a fee of £800k as Wednesday bought him in 1994.

5. Athletic Manager Paul Cook started his professional footballing career at Wigan between 1984-88 making 100 matches scoring 15 goals. Cook’s last game in the football league was as a Burnley player in which his side lost 0-2 at home to Bradford City in March 2003 courtesy of Claus Jorgensen and Andy Gray. Cook then went on to play in the Conference with Accrington Stanley for a further 3 seasons repaying that 0-2 result as Stanley won 1-2 at Valley Parade in the Football League Trophy in September 2004. Cook received a yellow which proved to be his last booking in a cup competition.

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