Opinion: Waghorn return is a big boost

Our attacking threat for the campaign to date has been abysmal and that is highlighted by the lack of goals next to our name.

A host of big names have failed to live up to their billing and left us struggling to find the net. Marc Antoine Fortune, Callum McManaman, Shaun Maloney, and Grant Holt have all, for one reason for another, failed to deliver the goods for the Latics this season. This comes despite their hefty wages running through the payroll.

Young Irishman James McClean has done his best to cover in recent weeks by operating out of his usual position on the wing and being deployed up front. But this is no basis on which to form a promotion push, let alone a survival bid.

Martyn Waghorn’s return to fitness is as good as a new signing for manager Malky Mackay is terms of his options on the front line. The former Leicester City and England under 21 international has a proven pedigree in front of goal as well as offering a degree of physical presence along the front line.

Perhaps of most significance is the attitude of both Waghorn and McClean. Both players showed 100% effort and determination in the recent draw with Blackburn Rovers which is more than can be said of other players at varying points throughout this season.

The second half atmosphere of positivity against Blackburn was as strange as scoring a home goal and earning a point. We’ve been poor this season there’s no doubt of that, but if we can carry a threat up front that will give the team and the supporters the lift needed to push for the right results.

If Waghorn and McClean are able to strike up a partnership and lead the line for the Latics then we have a good chance of putting a run of results together. The problem is that a relegation survival bid is not the ideal scenario to try to formulate a partnership.

If Mackay can add a further name to our attacking options, the tail end of the season will hopefully be a bit brighter than the start. At this moment in time, with five points separating the Latics from safety, supporters would snatch survival from the hands of anyone who offered it.

There is still a long way to go, and historically we have form going into the tail end of the season. With nine days of the transfer window left hopefully we’ll have a decent rabbit as well as Waghorn to help share the burden with McClean up front.