WHAT a start Omar Bogle has enjoyed at WIGAN ATHLETIC. The 24-year-old striker was one of 8 deadline-day sidelines by boss Warren Joyce as he aims to leads Latics to Championship survival.
None of the new boys started the 1-0 home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday 3 days later, although Bogle and Hull loanee James Weir did come off the bench.
But both came into the starting line-up for Tuesday night’s home match against Norwich and Bogle made an instant impact.
The £750,000 signing from League Two Grimsby headed Latics level from a 62nd-minute corner before curling in a 20-yard free-kick six minutes later.
Norwich equalised to secure a 2-2 draw, taking some of the gloss off Bogle’s night, but it still capped a rapid rise for the former West Brom and Birmingham youth player.
It was 20 months ago that he was named the National League North’s player of the season after scoring 29 goals for Solihull Moors. Nine months ago he scored twice in the National League play-off final to set Grimsby on course for a return to the Football League, giving him 19 goals for the season. Now he’s scoring in the Championship, with his debut double taking his season tally to 21 having already scored 19 for Grimsby this term.
“It was good to start off with two goals, I’m just a bit disappointed they weren’t enough to win the game,” said Bogle. “I fancied the free-kick as soon as we won it. I was going to go over the wall but changed my mind at the last second and went to the keeper’s side because he sort of gambled (going behind the wall), and it went in.
“It would have been a big 3 points but there were a lot of positives. Norwich are a good side so it could turn out to be a good point. We were unlucky to go 1-0 down but if we continue to play like that, especially the way we did 2nd half, then we’ll win games.”
The draw made it just 1 defeat in 4 Championship games for Wigan and they remain 2nd-bottom, 5 points from safety with a game in hand on 4th-bottom Burton, which they play on Tuesday night away to Wolves, who are 18th.
But first Latics visit 10th-placed Fulham this Saturday, which could see the start of a new strike partnership between Bogle and last season’s top scorer Will Grigg, who replaced Weir at half-time against Norwich.
Bogle added: “The biggest thing for me now is dealing with the tempo and how relentless the games are, opposed to League Two. But the intensity the gaffer has us training at, I’m starting to feel the difference in myself and feel the benefits already.
“When Will Grigg came on it gave me a bit more support and he had some support, which maybe he’s been lacking recently. It just worked, and those are the best sort of strike partners, when it just clicks, and I think we played well off each other.”
Joyce took over in November after being Man United’s reserve-team boss. Sir Alex Ferguson welcomed him into the Old Trafford fold and the United legend made a surprise visit to Latics’ training ground on Friday to see his old pal.
But, on his new two-goal hero, Joyce said: “I think that’s why he came here, because he wants to become a better player and play at as high a level as he possibly can. He’s set his stall out from day one to do that and he’s given himself something to live up to.
“But that’s what you want; you want high demands on players, you want them to come in and challenge themselves, to be the best they can be every single day. If they do that then they’ll improve and progress.”