Wigan's upward thrust set to continue

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After Wigan Warriors won this year's Super League crown at Old Trafford, Wigan Council saw fit to replace the old 'Welcome to Wigan - home of Premiership football and Super League rugby' signposts with new ones which said 'Welcome to Wigan - Wigan Warriors, Super League champions 2010': signs which made no reference to the football team. 
But, after a Latics fans' backlash, the council have this week backed down and vowed to return the old signs. Although this is not a demonstration of 'fan power' to rival the long disputes elsewhere in the North West - at Old Trafford and Anfield - it is still a nice story to highlight the pride we supporters have in our team.  
It's a small hope, but this correspondent has his fingers crossed that once the council have put the signs back up again, Wiganers might follow them all the way to the DW, for once giving us a full house this season. 
Of course, Wigan has always been a rugby town, but the Latics' meteoric rise from the lower leagues up to the Premier League has been nothing short of a revelation. This week, the team travel to Newcastle on Saturday.  
Twenty years ago, the side were on their way to finishing tenth in the old Third Division. We're (lower) mid-table again, of course, but this time in the Premier League, where we've become something of a fixture; surely that is something for the town to celebrate. 
So to Saturday's game. A win could take Wigan into the top half of the table. Defeat, allied with decent results for the sides below them, could see the Latics sucked into the relegation dog-fight once more. 
The scoreline is difficult to predict. For one, Newcastle's home form has been as patchy as Wigan's (both have had a home reverse against Blackpool). For two, we've got to contend with the football equivalent of sod's law - the law of the ex-player. 
And this weekend, there are two ex-players facing their former clubs, and this barmy law of averages says there's generally a goal in it for both of them too. When Saturday comes, Charles N'Zogbia will return to St. James Park, and Ryan Taylor will be playing against Wigan for the Magpies. So is 1-1 a fair bet? 
The fixture calendar is stacking up, with the next round of the Carling Cup on the horizon. Wigan need to start going on a little run now, and maybe in that, we'll find the true sign which will bring the fans back to the DW. 
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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