Our writer Nathan Staples is taking part in the Football Manager Parallel Championship, organised by the creators of the game Sports Interactive. Each week, he’ll play a versus game against another manager running at the same time as the real Championship with the same schedule. Teams are imported squads with the players available in real life during that week and this will be a weekly series throughout the season.
Wigan fans, you may rejoice. After just missing out on the play-off final last season, I have been tasked with taking your side to the next level this time around and get you back into the Premier League. It’ll not be easy, there will be a lot of competition but I’m confident that this team can compete in the higher reaches of the Championship.
So let’s start with tactics and I’m going to go for an FM traditional 4-5-1 with a DM, two centre-mids, two wingers and a striker. We want to control the ball, play with it on the ground and use the talent we have in the middle of the park and out wide to our advantage. As for team selection, I’ve gone for this set-up:
Our first game is a sticky one, Reading, and that could easily go either way. They have a talented squad and they will likely want to take advantage of their attacking options, so we will have to be a little wary of that but it’s the first game of the season, the only thought in my mind is to win.
So we begin, the first half starts a little nervously, both teams feeling each other out. But then, on 17 minutes:
Eurphoria! McManaman gets in behind the defence and beats Alex McCarthy with ease, a great start. After that, not much to report other than another chance that is well saved but the first half came and went very quickly.
They made a change at half-time, I wanted to keep it tight and play the way we have, but disaster struck. A goal from Garath McCleary gave them a window on 58 minutes, our defending was poor but it would get worse still. An anonymous defence allowed McCleary in to score his second before Jem Karacan completed the scoring with 7 minutes to go. It was pretty appauling, they cut right through the middle and with just four shots on target, they managed three goals.
The team is left dejected by the 3-1 defeat in the opener, mistakes in that second half killed the game for us and we could never fully recover. We kept the ball well, we were accurate without shooting and kept them to long distance attempts, but the score is all that matters in the end.
There will be changes next week, a promotion push will begin with a win against Charlton next week.