WHEN Uwe Rosler left Brentford to join Wigan in December, I’m sure plenty of people shrugged their shoulders and thought ‘That’s them done’.
So enormous credit must go to Mark Warburton and his players, who clinched automatic promotion to the Championship last weekend.
When Mark was appointed everybody thought ‘Who?’ He was the sporting director, a guy nobody had heard of. But the board obviously knew they were on to a good thing and simply wanted someone who could keep them ticking along.
Mark’s come in and done a wonderful job in that sense. He didn’t try to revolutionise things. He just kept that fantas- tic spirit they already had. It hasn’t always been straightforward and Leyton Orient put up a tremendous fight for second place. But overall, nobody can deny the Bees deserve to go up with Wolves.
Well done to the players too. What they went through last season, missing out on promotion on the final day of the season and then losing in the play- offs, would have broken an awful lot of people. I’ve seen plenty of good sides have an awful season on the back of far less.
But they regrouped magnificently and set out determined to put it right. And let me tell you, I think they’re well set to upset a few people in the Championship.
They haven’t got a ton of money but Griffin Park is so tight and compact and the fans are always right behind them. I remember managing there in the play-offs with Huddersfield, the year we beat them on penalties.
It was an absolutely electric atmosphere and if they can recreate that on a weekly basis it will intimidate plenty of teams.
Speaking of Uwe, he’s got a tough job at Wigan, who are suddenly starting to look very tired. In the last ten months, the Latics have played in Europe, the Community Shield, the League Cup and reached the semis of the FA Cup.
If they make the play-off final, it’ll be their 63rd game of the season – or one match every four-and-a-half days. At this level, that’s an incredible effort. But it’s left Uwe between the devil and the deep blue sea.
When you qualify for the play-offs as early as they have, it’s so easy to give one or two players a rest and that’s what he seems to be doing. But in doing that, you do risk losing momentum. And that’s something that you definitely need to have when you go into the play-offs.
The year we went up at Huddersfield, we went on a great run in April and I think we crept in on the final day. We were in much better form than the teams who’d been treading water above us. With one win in four, Wigan aren’t in great nick and Uwe will be hoping they’ve all got that little bit left in the tank.