Tomorrow afternoon sees the Alex host the final team that were relegated from the Championship last season, 7th-placed Wigan Athletic. Both teams have faces familiar to opposition fans in their squads, midfielders Dan Gardner and Gary Roberts had short-spells with the Alex while the home side could have Donervon Daniels and Mikael Mandron involved for them.
Last season saw Wigan start the season with just one win in the opening 7 games before a run of 5 games alternating between wins and losses before a run of 1 win in 16 sent them crashing to the bottom of the table by mid-January. They would go unbeaten for the final 15 games of the season bar a 3-0 defeat at Brentford but were relegated on the final day with results not going their way following 12 points being deducted for entering administration near the end of the season.
They would go out of the Carabao Cup at home to Stoke City in Round 1 while they would lose 2-0 at Leicester City in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup.
They have played 7 games so far this season, a couple of defeats to start off the season at Ipswich Town and at home to Gillingham before 2 wins in the league at Portsmouth and at home to Doncaster Rovers. They lost 3-2 in the first round of the Carabao Cup and sit in 3rd place in their EFL Trophy group, having beaten Liverpool’s Under-21s 6-1 at home before losing 3-1 to Port Vale on Tuesday night, they travel to Tranmere Rovers in the final group game.
Wigan have made 5 signings in total, 3 on permanent deals and 2 loans until January, defenders Tom James and Darnell Johnson would both join on loan from Hibernian and Leicester City respectively with Nathan Cameron joining from Macclesfield Town, midfielder Dan Gardner joined after a year out of the game while winger Viv Solomon-Otabor joined from Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia.
22 players have left the club this summer, including forward Callum Lang who has joined Motherwell for the season.
Alex Wins: 10
Latics Wins: 16
Biggest Alex Win: 4-1 at the Alexandra Stadium in April 1994
Biggest Latics Win: 4-1 at The DW Stadium in October 2004
Crewe Alexandra 1-1 Wigan Athletic, 23rd January 2016
Reece Wabara would give the visitors a 16th-minute lead before Brad Inman would level the score 2 minutes before the break.
Alex: Garratt; Turton, Ajayi, Nugent, Guthrie; Jones, Fox, Inman; Colclough, Haber, Cooper (Bakayago 90)
Latics: Jaaskelainen; Wabara, Daniels, Morgan, Pearce; Jacobs (Vuckic 30, Davies 74), Perkins, Power, McCann; Hiwula (Grigg 74), Wildschut
Played for Both:
The following players have been contracted to both teams:
Goalkeepers: Adam Bogdan, Dave Felgate
Defenders: Donervon Daniels, Chey Dunkley, Nigel Hart, Ryan Kirby, John McMahon, Dave McKearney, Dave Miller, Paul Rennie, Sam Stubbs, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, David Wright
Midfielders: Chris Duffy, Clive Evans, Geoff Gay, Chris Lightfoot, Andy Lyons, Nick Powell, Gary Roberts, Gareth Whalley, Phil Williams
Forwards: Billy Bootle, Ryan Colclough, Nathan Ellington, Wayne Entwistle, Fred Eyre, Bobby Finan, Dan Gardner, Albert Kinsey, Mark Leonard, Bert Llewellyn, Mikael Mandron, Nicky Maynard, Neil Morton, Harold Mosby, Mike Newell, Kevin Sheldon, Paul Tait
The officials for this game have been announced here with Martin Coy the referee, Anthony Moore and Bradley Hall are his assistants with Andrew Dallison the fourth official. Here are the Crewe games that have been refereed by Coy in the previous 5 years:
- Crewe Alexandra 5-1 Chesterfield (9th September 2017) – Porter (2), Ng, Cooper, Ainley
- Crewe Alexandra 2-3 Wycombe Wanderers (20th January 2018) – Porter, McKirdy
- Tranmere Rovers 1-0 Crewe Alexandra (8th March 2019)
- Crewe Alexandra 5-0 Morecambe (23rd November 2019) – Finney (2), Lowery, Kirk, Wintle
I asked Wigan fan John Cumberbatch for his thoughts going into the game and looking at the season ahead.
How would you describe last season for the Latics?
Last was the story of three seasons.
We started off indifferently, as we so often do. Come the turn of the new year we then decide that we need to start playing, which we did – and with some style too – beating Leeds and West Brom in back to back games.
Then there was the suspension of the season and the bombshell of Administration on 1st July. After that, we knew we were facing a 12 point deduction and were always playing with that in mind. Unfortunately, through no lack of effort from the players, we fell just a little bit short. The squad was decimated and here we find ourselves in League 1 again.
Nathan Cameron and Adam Long are self-isolating. Apart from that, there is just Gary Roberts out with a longer-term injury. Otherwise, we have a fully fit squad to choose from.
What is the position that you think needs strengthening before the transfer window shuts?
Where don’t we need to strengthen? After the pain of administration, and the sales that came with that, we are pretty threadbare all over the place.
Up front is probably the main concern though with only Joe Garner as recognised senior striker. Fortunately, for us, I think there will be plenty of free agents still around once our takeover is complete.
What would be the team that you would pick for the game if you were in charge?
Tom James Darnell Johnson Kal Naismith Tom Pearce
Alex Perry Chris Merrie
Viv Solomon-Otabor Lee Evans Gavin Massey
Who is the danger man for yourselves?
Viv Solomon-Otabor has been a bit of a revelation since he signed for us for a month at the beginning of September. He’s full of pace and direct running and has weighed in with a few assists so far. Thankfully we’ve managed to tie him down until January this week.
What would be a successful season for Wigan this term?
Staying up. A few weeks ago it looked like just having a club would be a success. But with a preferred bidder now selected things are looking up compared to how they looked a few short weeks ago.