Ahead of tomorrow's clash between Leeds and Wigan at Elland Road, I spoke to Tom Horn about all things Wigan Athletic.
Who is your favourite player to put on a Wigan shirt?
At the moment I'd say ex-Leeds Stephen Warnock. Even during the worst of team performances this season his personal performances have been excellent. His impact at Wigan has been so good that he's recently just been given the club captaincy role. We have a fairly young squad so the longer we stay down towards the bottom of the table, the more the experience of the likes of Warnock could be key.
It's also hard to ignore Will Grigg who's probably our first proven goalscorer for nearly a decade. His 28 goals last year were one of the main reasons we got back to the championship at the first attempt. It was strange to see how little game time he got at Euro 2016, especially as the "Will Grigg's on fire" chant was being sung by nearly everyone in France!
Historically though I'd say it has to be Emmerson Boyce, our FA Cup winning captain who left us in 2015. I'd be suprised if we have another player who plays for us for anywhere near as long as the 8 years Boyce did for us.
After one brief year in England's third tier, how does it feel to be back in the championship?
It's great to be back in a league where many of our supporters feel we now belong. When you look at some of the teams at this level now it feels like it's the premier league. We've already played teams like Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday, they'd probably both see themselves as premiership clubs. Adding to that the likes of Newcastle, Aston Villa, Derby and Leeds who are all massive clubs.
League 1 was different, there was a local derby for us nearly every week. From a supporters point of view it was great as away games were cheap (unlike what we're paying on Tuesday) and most games were very close to home. Strangely, our average away followings were far higher in League 1 than they were during our Premier League seasons. However as good as it was to see us winning most weeks, as a club it's important we're in the championship at least if we're going to remain in a good financial state.
Like our new boss Garry Monk, your gaffer Gary Caldwell is fairly new to the management scene, how do you think he's doing?
He's had a very hard job, when he took over we were on our way down from the championship, he had a complete overhaul of players in that summer and built a squad which won promotion at the first attempt. Many opposition managers and fans used to point out that we had significantly more money than everyone else in League 1 last season due to parachute payments, this is true but his biggest two investments have proved to be great decisions. Will Grigg and Yanic Wildschut made instant impacts and are showing signs of being able to produce at championship level too.
This year I think he's found it very difficult to adjust to this level. He brought in 13 players over the summer and we haven't yet seen any of them produce good perfomances consistently yet. He also sold Jason Pearce to Charlton, which a lot of supporters believe is a big reason why our defence has been so poor this season.
Unlike last season, our squad is very similar to others in the division. It's clear that at the moment Caldwell is struggling to find a system and balance to our team capable of getting results in the championship. His team selections at times are often very strange and we have seen lots of players playing out of position this season so Caldwell can continue to play the 3-5-2 system.
Can you name a memorable moment between the sides?
I'll go for Dave Whelan silencing the Leeds fans when he was making his resignation speech. "Leeds United have not won the FA Cup for twenty five years"
Much like Leeds, Wigan are too big a side to be out of England's top tier. Do you think the premier league misses teams such as ours?
It's hard to believe the amount of years a club of Leeds' size has been outside of the top division.
You'd like to think we'd both be back up there soon, but with the amount of money in the championship right now it's looking more and more unlikely that a club not receiving parachute payments will win promotion. I think it misses Leeds definitely, I'm sure you'd still be there if it wasn't for mismanagement.
Champions, runners up and play off teams this year?
4th Sheffield Wednesday
5th Bristol City
Who do you think will be relegated?
22nd Any of Barnsley, Burton, Wigan or Preston
Predictions and scorers for Tuesday's game?
Leeds have picked up recently after a poor start but I think we'll managed to get our second away point of the season somehow. 1-1. Scorers Chris Wood for Leeds and Will Grigg for Wigan. We've looked a bit more solid defensively over the last couple of games so hopefully we can keep the likes of Hernandez quiet on Tuesday night.
We'd like to thank Tom for taking the time to do our interview and wish him and the Wigan fans the best for the season.
By Ryan Ingham
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