Austria, home of Wiener Schnitzel
As we know, the early pre-season matches can’t be held as an indicator of how the rest of the season may pan out. The fact Wigan lost to FC Tiramasu isn’t really going to have much bearing on how we will fare against the likes of Man United in December and Chelsea in May, for example.
From a personal perspective, it’s inadvisable to talk to (most likely inebriated) non-football fans about these types of games due to the fact they take them all too seriously. “Wigan lost to Crewe? Aren’t they four divisions lower? Oh dear, you’re gonna have a tough season this year.” I hate those kind of conversations.
Having said that, these matches at least have some importance for Roberto Martinez, who has yet to lead the Latics in a competitive game. He should hopefully be able to see the progress being made as his players approach full fitness with every friendly that passes, and so far this has thankfully been the case.
A couple of draws and a loss may seem a bit of a failure as such, but at this stage we ought to be looking to players’ performances and pick out who could potentially be in the starting line-up for Aston Villa on 15th August. In particular, N’Zogbia shined in the first couple of games, and, promisingly, Hugo Rodallega managed to grab a goal against PFC Minyor.
But I suppose these guys were always gonna be pretty much guaranteed a game on the opening day of the season. More significantly, this is the chance for guys who would have, under Bruce, been on the fringes of the squad to stake their claim for the new campaign. What of the new signings? Well, Jordi Gomez and Hendry Thomas have had decent runouts but the jury is still well and truly out. One would suspect the forthcoming friendlies back on home soil might be more telling.
Local bragging rights are up for grabs at Deepdale on Tuesday, and Preston will most likely give it everything they’ve got to get one over on us, but it won’t exactly be a stake to the heart if we don’t win. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, and if it helps Bobby separate the wheat from the chaff where his first competitive starting lineup is concerned, that’ll be just as sweet a victory.