Meet Town's opponents: Wigan's woe at home, Cook's return and the Kay Burley connection!
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town travel to Wigan this weekend hoping to revive their League One play-off hopes. MIKE BACON takes a look at the Latics.
SO HIGH, SO LOW, FOR LATICS
Wigan only joined the Football League in 1978 - the same year Ipswich were winning the FA Cup - and were in the fourth tier of English football as recently as 1997.
However, with good backing, the Latics completed a meteoric rise to the Premier League in 2005, before winning the FA Cup in 2013.
It was their first-ever FA Cup final and they beat Manchester City 1-0, Ben Watson's stoppage-time headed goal producing one of the greatest final upsets for more than 20 years.
But, it was bitter-sweet. Under the guidance of Roberto Martinez, Wigan were also relegated - the first team to do that, and win the FA Cup, in the same season. Since then it's been a yo-yo battle on and off the pitch for the Latics, with relegation from the Championship to League One and back again, a recurring theme.
Last July, with the club in 14th position in the Championship, eight points clear of relegation, in a season delayed due to COVID, it was announced Wigan had gone into administration - at the time current Town boss Paul Cook was the manager. Cook left in August, after Wigan were relegated due to a 12-point deduction as punishment for going into administration.
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Currently in the relegation zone again, Wigan are battling to avoid the drop once more, although with a takeover in the offing, hopes are high that should they survive, the future is brighter.
COOK AND WIGAN
Current Town boss Paul Cook left Wigan last year at the season's end having led a daring bid to preserve their Championship status - even after that 12-point deduction! He'd already got them promoted out of League One two seasons before.
Cook had led the Latics to what everyone thought were safe waters in the Championship after a win over Stoke with six games remaining, meant safety seemed assured. But the club went into administration after that and received the points deduction.
Wigan needed to beat Fulham on the final day of the season to stay up - they drew 1-1 during what was a superb run of results that saw them lose just one of their last 15 Championship games, including an 8-0 win over Hull, the biggest in the club's history.
But the 12-point deduction saw them come up short and they were relegated.
LAST TIME THEY MET
It was a rare Sky TV win for Ipswich Town the last time these two teams met - on the opening day of this season.
The Latics, still smarting from the points deduction that saw them relegated, were caught out by a quick free-kick headed home by Teddy Bishop. Substitute Gwion Edwards sealed the points for the Town with a smart turn and shot with 10 minutes left.
FA CUP SHOCK!
Just eight years after their greatest-ever day at Wembley in the 2013 FA Cup final, Wigan suffered the indignity of being dumped out of the same competition this season - by a Step 2 non-league side.
National League North, Chorley, who only had to travel nine miles down the road, were without a win and bottom of their league, but shocked the Latics - Connor Hall's extra-time winner sending the Magpies through - Chorley coming from 0-2 down to win 3-2.
Wigan have picked up far more points on the road this season, than they have at their home ground, the DW Stadium.
Indeed, they have only won three home games and amassed 13 points on home soil, from their current 34 total. They have lost 0-5 at home three times already - to Rochdale, Blackpool and Hull. On the flip side, they have won at Sunderland and Portsmouth.
Callum Lang is the team's top league scorer with seven goals. Former Town man Joe Garner is next on six - but he now plays his football in Cyprus with APOEL.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sky’s Kay Burley was born and bred in Wigan and started her career on the local paper. Currently she is suspended from Sky News after admitting to breaching London's tier 2 coronavirus restrictions in December, when celebrating her 60th birthday.
She has had two novels published, 'First Ladies' and 'Betrayal'.