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Wigan Athletic vs Fulham Preview: Three questions with The Pie at Night

In part two of our three question, six answer extravaganza we sit down with The Pie at Night to get their thoughts on the match.

Wigan Athletic v Blackburn Rovers: Sky Bet Championship League Photo by Daniel Smith/Getty Images

Yesterday, we got answers to these questions from Los Three Amigos. Today, The Pie at Night gives us their takes. Be sure to stop by their site and read our responses to their questions as well. They also have a podcast that you can listen to.

Cottagers Confidential: The Premier League to the Championship to League One and then back to the Championship. It's been quite a ride. New teams often struggle when coming up, but do you feel you'll do better than most? What were your expectations for the season?

The Pie at Night: I didn’t really have any expectations for the season to be honest. I suppose I felt a bit of injustice about getting relegation to League 1 so coming back up is perhaps more of a chance to put the clock back a couple of years and try to consolidate Latics as a reasonably stable second tier club. There are those who, because we’ve been in the Premier League and because we’ve still got some parachute payments, who would have expected more, but there are lots of big clubs in this year’s Championship and the season will be a long, hard slog for a few of them.

CC: Gary Caldwell doesn't have a lot of experience as a manager. What kind of style does he employ and are the supporters happy with him?

TPAN: “Stop trying to play like a bargain basement Barca when your players aren’t good enough” is a comment regularly thrown in Gary Caldwell’s direction and it’s no co-incidence that it was also thrown at Roberto Martinez when he was manager. There’s always been a section of Latics support that value hard work over aesthetics or ability and many see an insistence on playing a possession based game as being the root cause of our eventual Premier League demise and something that will trip us up under this year as well.

I’m ok with the style he’s aiming for, my main concern is that his teams seem to go into their shells too easily. For much of the first half of last season, we struggled by being a bit cautious and allowing teams to take the initiative rather than going out and trying to boss things from the start. I’ve not seen us play that much this season, but from what I’m hearing we’ve started this year on the same lines, the difference being that Championship teams are better equipped to take advantage of any hesitation. It took us a few months before we started to really boss games last year, and we went from strength to strength after that.

Regardless of that, Caldwell is still learning and everyone has to start somewhere and I’m glad that the club chose someone with an affinity with the club to take the reins last season, regardless of experience rather than bringing in another experienced head, because the only thing Owen Coyle and Malky Mackay were good at was dragging the good name of the club down.

CC: Dan Burn was a long time Fulham player and one we had high hopes for. His development seemed to stall however. How has he looked with Wigan? Are there any other players Fulham should keep an eye on?

TPAN: Dan Burn has the physique of a good centre-half, but on his showings in a Wigan shirt so far, that’s where his similarities with anything football related end. He’s looked hapless at best and I don’t think I could give a proper appraisal of his season so far without doing some bad swears. He’s gifted opposition teams at least 2 goals this season and it’s probably only Shane Duffy’s early season form that’s kept him out of the national attention.

Burn and goalkeeper Adam Bogdan could prove to be your most important players tomorrow. The dangers from Latics will come from obvious sources. Will Grigg is still on fire and has been ably assisted by Michael Jacobs in the last couple of games. We’re yet to see them at their absolute best, but you’d have to think that players like Nick Powell and Yanic Wildschut will have their day sooner or later. Oh and prodigal son, Jordi Gomez started his first game of the season on Tuesday, if he plays for you he’ll either be a total superstar or be booed off by his own fans on 66 minutes.

CC: Predicted lineup and score?

TPAN: Predicting Caldwell’s team selection is about as easy as picking a line on the lottery. I could throw eleven names at you no problem, but the chances of them being the right ones are minimal. The only certainties are Grigg and stand-in captain Stephen Warnock after that you can perm nine from about 20 players.

A score? Have you seen how we’ve been doing so far? I predicted a 3-1 Latics win on Tuesday, just to try and trick the gods of fortune. That didn’t work at all so I’m going to say you’ll batter us into submission and come away with a 2-0 victory.