NINE months is a very long time in football and during that period the fortunes of the Sky Blues and Wigan in League One could not be more different.
Tony Mowbray’s side opened their 2015/16 campaign with an emphatic 2-0 victory over title favourites Wigan back at the beginning of August on what was a sizzling hot day at the Ricoh Arena.
In the months that followed the Sky Blues earned themselves the title as being the league’s ‘entertainers’ and were top by mid-November, while the Latics struggled at the wrong end of the table.
But fast forward to the present day and on miserable Saturday afternoon in Wigan, Gary Caldwell’s side moved four points clear at the top following a 1-0 win which left Mowbray’s side 11 points adrift from the top six in 13th.
The visitors had made a positive start and perhaps should have taken the lead but once again they were left frustrated by a lack of clinical edge in front of goal as they failed to find the back of the net for a third consecutive match.
Romain Vincelot, who was played in a more advanced role again, hit a neat volley inches wide and John Fleck forced the experienced Jussi Jaaskelainen into a smart save from 20 yards out after being ecnouraged to shoot by the 1,200 travelling support.
Youngster Jodi Jones almost cashed in following a defensive mistake by former City loan star Stephen Warnock but after cutting in from the left Jaaskelainen again got down well to keep out his low shot.
Wigan had looked a threat on the counter and the closest they came to finding a breakthrough in the first half was when Conor McAleny tested Riece Charles-Cook from long range but the young City goalkeeper was able to make a comfortable stop.
After the break Wigan moved through the gears and the Sky Blues were forced to spend the majority of the second period camped inside their own half.
The warning signs were there when in-form striker Will Grigg saw his close range effort palmed away by Charles-Cook but he could do nothing to stop Grigg from bagging his 23rd goal of the season on 57 minutes.
An excellent dummie by Max Power saw the ball reach Warnock down the left and he delivered an inch perfect cross for Grigg to stab the ball high into the back of the net.
Eight minutes later the host missed a great chance to double their advantage after Fleck had brought down McAlney inside the area but the Wigan striker was denied by a confident save by Riece Charles-Cook.
Mowbray introduced Joe Cole, Marc-Antoine Fortune and Jacob Murphy in an attempt to salvage something from the match and keep the club’s slim play-off hopes alive but they were unable to make an impact.
Another three points saw Wigan extend their unbeaten record to 20 matches while in comparison the Sky Blues slipped to a tenth defeat in 15 matches and they have won just once in their last ten as the slide down the League One table continues.