Graham Barrow admits Wigan Athletic’s fate was sealed during a January transfer window during which relegation rivals Burton ‘beat us hands down’.
After a sluggish start to the season that saw Gary Caldwell lose his job, Warren Joyce was appointed in November, and brought in an incredible 14 players in January to try to turn things around.
I’m from an era where you have the whole squad together for the pre-season, and hopefully that will be the case next season.Graham Barrow
While other teams around them in the table, such as the Brewers, picked up markedly, the expected improvement in Wigan’s fortunes failed to materialise.
And by the time Joyce was replaced in March by interim boss Barrow, the damage had already been done.
“I think you’d have to say not enough of the signings worked out,” acknowledged Barrow.
“Burton beat us hands down in the January window.
“And as far as staying up goes, I think that hurt us more than anything.
“I really feel this group of players was strong enough to stay in the Championship – definitely, 100 per cent.
“We were certainly as good as Burton if not better, man for man, but they managed to create something there.”
Barrow also pointed to last summer’s transfer dealings, when too many of the incomings arrived part-way through the pre-season programme.
“I thought we started the season in relatively confident shape,” added Barrow.
“But I just didn’t think the whole thing as a unit was complete (early enough).
“We had too many players joining us late.
“Nick Powell came in part way through the pre-season, never really got going, Jake Buxton also joined us late.
“You’re going away for team building, to Portugal, and it’s only really half the team you’ve got to work with.
“Sometimes that can’t be helped – it’s just the way of the modern game.
“But I’m from an era where you have the whole squad together for the pre-season, and hopefully that will be the case next season.”