12 points collected in unbeaten start to 2016.
- Three wins and three draws provide excellent start to 2016.
- Latics stretch unbeaten run to eight matches by the end of January.
- Yanic Wildschut, Reece Wabara, Ryan Colclough and Sam Morsy added to squad.
League form - W3 D3 L0
Position - 4th
The New Year kicked off with a trip to Glanford Park to face Scunthorpe United as Gary Caldwell’s side set about honing in on the automatic promotion spots after consolidating their top six spot. Luke Williams gave the Iron the lead on 20 minutes, but Michael Jacobs levelled with a superb finish to extend Latics’ unbeaten run to three games.
The game in North Lincolnshire was the last of Yanic Wildschut’s impressive loan spell at Latics, and the immediate focus post-match was on whether the powers that be could secure the Dutchman on a permanent deal from Middlesbrough. That deal hadn’t been done in time for the arrival of the Sky TV cameras for our clash with fellow promotion chasers Gillingham.
Yanic Wildschut pictured on his return to the DW Stadium.
Wildschut’s absence early on was evident, Latics going down 2-0 in the opening 53 minutes to goals from Dominic Samuel and Rory Donnelly. However, the resilient qualities that had provided so many great comebacks in the first-half of the season shone through again and after Will Grigg had pulled one back on 64 minutes and Max Power fortunately saw his effort bundled over the line by Gills keeper Stuart Nelson three minutes later, there was only one winner.
That winning effort didn’t come until deep into injury-time, though, Craig Morgan climbing highest to head home from a corner to set off more sensational celebrations.
Wildschut’s signing on a permanent basis was confirmed the following Saturday, but he wasn’t involved as Latics faced their rearranged fixture with Sheffield United on the following Tuesday.
It looked as if Latics would be racing on to another three points when goals from Grigg, Haris Vuckic and Chris McCann gave Caldwell’s side a 3-0 lead with just over 20 minutes remaining. However, an inspired comeback from former Latics goalkeeper Nigel Adkins’ side saw a Matt Done double and a Billy Sharp strike earn the Blades a point.
A reaction was required for our third home game in nine days when Chesterfield visited the DW Stadium and Caldwell certainly got one from his players. Reece Wabara came in for his debut after signing from Barnsley as a sensational Power strike after just six minutes was followed by Reece James’ first Latics goal and a neat Jacobs finish that blew the Spireites away by half-time.
Wabara opened his Latics account a weekend later at Crewe Alexandra, but over 2,200 travelling supporters weren’t treated to three points as Bradden Inman levelled for the struggling Railwaymen. Adding to Latics' frustration, the creative attributes of Jacobs were lost for a number of months when he pulled up with a calf injury.
The game at the Alexandra Stadium was Ryan Colclough’s last in a Crewe shirt as he made the move to Latics just days later, along with Chesterfield midfielder Sam Morsy as Caldwell looked to strengthen his pack for the remaining four months of the campaign.
Both players made their debuts from the bench against Colclough’s local side and Morsy’s former club, Port Vale, as a Grigg hat-trick – his first in Latics colours – secured a fine end to a busy opening month in 2016.
David Sharpe unveils the signings of Ryan Colclough and Sam Morsy.
As well as incomings, January also saw players leave the DW Stadium as Don Cowie and Grant Holt left by mutual consent whilst Richard O’Donnell’s brief stay came to an end when he joined Bristol City on loan, a move that would later become permanent.