With kick-off for our Premier League clash with Fulham just hours away, who Marco Silva will select to face the Cottagers is a topic at the forefront of many supporters thinking.
One man who will certainly be out of contention is young protégé Beni Baningime, but the 5 ft 10 midfielder’s importance at loan-side Wigan is still earning some attention on the Grand Old Team forum.
The 20-year-old moved to the DW Stadium in January, having only managed to make two Premier League 2 appearances under David Unsworth once he recovered from an ankle injury.
However, even in a relegation-threatened Championship side, the DR Congo national is struggling to cut a vital role for himself, and has only been included in the matchday squad on two occasions, the first of which was as an unused substitute.
Since making his Latics debut in a 1-1 draw at Rotherham, ten fixtures have passed, without Baningime anywhere near Paul Cook’s teamsheet.
Wigan are now preparing to host title-chasing Norwich on Sunday, where defeat could leave the Latics in the drop zone if Rotherham beat Stoke on Saturday, and it is doubtful Baningime will have changed Cook’s recent plans.
His lack of action this season has generated some discussion on the Grand Old Team forum…
“What’s happened to this fella? I thought he was a real bright spot last year – the next Gana potentially. Is it just injuries? Bad attitude? Mismanagement? Someone reassure me that my high hopes were not misplaced.” – Jimmy Grimble (April 12, 08:53)
“It’s bizarre” – Zatara (April 12, 09:17)
“Supposedly he disappeared after the start of pre-season with no news, then went on loan, played 1 game, and has disappeared again with no news. – MightyMoyes (April 12, 09:46)
“Forgot he existed” – Ijjysmith (April 12, 09:48)
“Who?” – Boris (April 12, 10:06)
“He went on loan to Wigan, played once or twice, not been in the matchday squad since. No mention of an injury from Wigan so possibly just not in favour.” – Nymzee (April 12, 10:15)
“He’s rubbish, just like his mate Tom Davies, who had a good game against Manchester City two(!) years ago and hasn’t done a single thing since. Both of them, bin.” – Big Fat Sam (April 12, 10:19)
“I read some people said let’s play him instead of Gana a couple of months ago.” – Khtoffe (April 12, 10:48)
“Wasn’t there rumours his head started to swell a bit after being on the fringes last year? “ – Zzr45 (April 12, 10:45)
“Perhaps Silva isn’t picking Beni because right now he’s not matching the likes of Gana, Gomes, Morgan and Davies – people forget he’s still a young player. That’s not a criticism of him at all as he did perform relatively well when he was forced into the squad last season, but he never set the world alight. I see the overall furore over Beni as the typical Everton response: young players are boss and should be world beater. Realistically, he’s still developing.” – PhilM (April 12, 13:40)