Wigan earn Royle approval
Paul Jewell has form. He took an unfashionable club to the Premiership when Bradford City defied the critics in 1999, so are his latest team good enough to repeat that feat?
"Today we were," Jewell said after Wigan had soundly beaten Ipswich to leapfrog the Suffolk side into third spot. "A lot of people didn't give us a chance at the start of the season. We're up there and we're fighting."
Joe Royle, the Ipswich manager, also thinks it is time to take Wigan seriously. "We're a bigger club than them but they have the money and their star's in the ascendancy," he said. "They will take a lot of stopping on that performance. They have two £1 million strikers and a £1 million midfielder. Don't be fooled by the name Wigan Athletic."
That midfielder, Alan Mahon, was on loan at Portman Road but is now part of the quartet who bossed this fixture. Alongside him, Gary Teale probably shaded the man-of-the-match award while the skilful and athletic Jimmy Bullard was excellent throughout.
None of them, however, was involved in the 18th minute when Wigan deservedly took the lead. A headed clearance by Jason de Vos somehow found its way past Drissa Diallo and left Jason Roberts with a clear run on goal. He finished clinically.
The lead doubled in the 33rd minute when a long ball by Nicky Eaden cleared Matt Richards, leaving Teale in space on the right. His cross left Nathan Ellington with a simple task to score.
Royle switched to three at the back at half-time, which spurred the home team until Diallo's miserable afternoon was completed in the 53rd minute when his clearance fell to Teale, who settled the game with a stunning strike.
Shefki Kuqi pulled one back for Ipswich after a mix-up between goalkeeper John Filan and Ian Breckin but even when Wigan were reduced to 10 men, after Leighton Baines was sent off for two bookable offences, this was one 3-0 lead which never looked like being reversed.
Simon Goodley (Daily Telegraph)