Opposition Lowdown: Liam Richardson’s Wigan Athletic

Do you think you know enough about the Latics ahead of kick-off? Read this to find out!


Form

Wigan secured promotion back to the Championship last season with the Latics finishing as League One Champions. They were relegated to the third tier of English football after finishing 23rd in the Championship in the 2019/20 season having fallen into administration. They survived their first season back in League One, finishing in 20th place, three points above the relegation zone, however their second season was a lot more successful, as they beat Rotherham to win the league title.

Wigan currently sit 11th in the league, having seen three wins, four draws and only one loss so far. All three of Wigan’s wins have come away from home, beating Birmingham, Luton and Huddersfield on the road. The two sides last met in the 2019/20 season, where Reading took the three points with a 3-1 win at the DW Stadium, before Wigan returned the favor, beating the Royals 3-0 at the SCL.


The Boss: Liam Richardson

Yorkshireman Richardson was appointed as Wigan manager on a permanent basis in April 2021, having served as caretaker manager following John Sheridan’s departure to Swindon Town in November 2020. The former defender started his managerial career at Accrington Stanley, the club he joined as a player in 2005.

He has strong links with manager Paul Cook, having served as his assistant manager at Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan after his time at Accrington. Richardson joined Wigan in 2017, first as Cook’s assistant manager before becoming caretaker manager on two separate occasions.

He kept the side in League One following his permanent appointment and secured the league title in his first full season at the club. Richardson, who was named the 2021-22 League One Manager of the Season, wants his sides to play possession-based, forward-thinking football.


Squad

There has been limited transfer activity at Wigan this summer, with only two players signing on permanently. Defender Ryan Nyambe has signed on a free transfer following his release from Blackburn and winger Anthony Scully signed from Lincoln City for an undisclosed fee. The Latics have also bought three players on loan, with defender Rarmani Edwards-Green (Huddersfield) and strikers Ashley Fletcher (Watford) and Nathan Broadhead (Everton) all signing for the season.

Winger Gavin Massey and defender Adam Long were the only two permanent departures this summer.

Goalkeeper Ben Amos missed Tuesday night’s clash with Huddersfield with a back spasm and may miss out again this weekend, Jamie Jones will continue to deputize if Amos is not fit. Midfielders Jordan Cousins ​​and Gwion Edwards could both be close to a return from injury, however captain Tendayi Darikwa will still be out as he recovers from a dislocated shoulder.


Expected Lineup

Jones, Whatmough, Tilt, Nyambe, McLean, Shinnie, Power, Aasgaard, Keane, Lang, Magennis


Key Player: Will Keane

Photo by John Early/Getty Images

Striker Keane signed for Wigan on a permanent deal in October 2020 following his release from Ipswich Town at the end of the previous season. This started his second spell with the Latics after a one-month loan spell with the club in November 2013.

Keane came through the Manchester United academy alongside his twin brother Michael, who plays for Premier League Everton. He made three appearances for United and had loan spells at Wigan, QPR, Sheffield Wednesday and Preston before leaving Manchester permanently when he signed for Hull City in 2016.

Whilst at Hull he also made a loan move to Ipswich Town, before signing a one-year deal with the club following his release in August 2019. Keane finished as the League One Top Scorer last season, having scored 26 goals and was named in the PFA League One Team of the Year. The 29-year-old can play anywhere across the front three, is a strong finisher and has 3 goals to his name so far this season.


One to Watch: Callum Lang

Huddersfield Town v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet Championship

Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

Forward Lang joined the Wigan academy in 2013 when he was 14 years old, having come through the youth ranks at Premier League Liverpool. Lang has had a number of loan spells since making his Wigan debut in 2017, playing for Morecambe, Oldham, Shrewsbury and Motherwell.

The 24-year-old became a regular in the Wigan squad in the second half of the 2020/21 season, scoring nine league goals, as Wigan survived relegation from League One. Last season was his most successful yet, with Lang scoring 18 goals and recording 10 assists. Lang typically plays on the right wing and displays strong dribbling and finishing skills.

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