Key Player: Ali Al Habsi
In: Fraser Fyvie
Out: Mohamed Diame, Chris Kirkland, Hugo Rodallega, Hendry Thomas
It should take more than a fine manager (Robert Martinez) and a great goalkeeper (Al Habsi) but that combination has been enough for the tightrope-walking Wigan side to stay in the Barclays League the past two seasons. Without Martinez you suspect this collection of players would simply collapse during one of those long losing streaks which have characterized the club; without Al Habsi you know they would go belly-up by December.
By hanging on to Martinez through thick and thin, Wigan has demonstrated that there always is a sunrise after the darkest of defeats. By resisting offers for Victor Moses this summer they also have kept their single most significant attacking piece. They’ve added Scottish midfielder Fraser Fyvie, but the rest of the roster looks exactly like the one that has spent the final month of the past two seasons producing a remarkable escape act. Last year, Wigan was directly responsible for the lack of real celebration at Manchester United and Newcastle United. For a club with such limited resources, such “triumphs” have to be enough to satisfy.