Here’s the first of two excerpts from Lou Macari’s weekly column, focussing on THAT red card at the weekend…
“A lot has been made about what a big difference Neil Warnock made to the fixture after being appointed earlier in the week to replace Jonathan Woodgate and how much credit he deserves for Boro’s 2-0 win.
One thing that’s maybe been overlooked is the part he probably played in Nick Powell’s sending off.
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Now I’m not making any excuses for Powell picking up two yellows in a minute late in a game that you’re losing 2-0.
But I can imagine that Warnock, with all his experience, would have told his lads beforehand that they can’t possibly let Powell try and dictate the game.
That they had to make life uncomfortable for him, shall we say, and he would have told them that with a knowing look.
Warnock knows that a player like Powell can be wound up and thrown off his game and, by all accounts, some of the fouls on him before his yellow cards suggests his Boro players realised that too.
Either way, the net result was a terrible sending off for Powell and Stoke City – and as I say there’s no excuses for him.
The result itself was a huge blow to Stoke’s chances of staying up, but I remain convinced that they have what it takes.
They just need that one win that will buy them valuable breathing space and give them the confidence to get the rest of the points they need.
If they can stop Wigan’s charge tonight that will be a start and set them up nicely for the home game against fellow strugglers Barnsley on Saturday.
But it’s a Wigan side that’s in the best form of anyone in the Championship and that’s some task for Stoke.
I see that Wigan have lost just one in their last 11 games and taken 24 points from a possible 33 in the process.
Remarkable given the position they were in.”