LATICS chief executive Jonathan Jackson expects January will be ‘a quiet one’ for Wigan, with the return of injured stars James McCarthy, Victor Moses and Franco di Santo acting as three ‘new signings’.
At least one striker will be coming in to replace the departed Mauro Boselli but, that aside, Jackson does not foresee any major wheeling and dealing before the end of the month.
For the umpteenth transfer window in a row, Roberto Martinez’s top priority will be holding on to prize assets Charles N’Zogbia and Hugo Rodallega.
But Jackson is confident, whatever happens, Martinez will have a stronger squad to finish the season than he did at the start of this month.
“I don’t think there’ll much in the way of activity,” Jackson told the Evening Post.
“We’re certainly hoping that it’s a quiet one, and I think that would be in line with a lot of Premier League clubs.
“In this business you can’t predict what’s going to happen over the next couple of weeks.
“Of course we’re hoping to hold on to our best players, but if anything does happen we need to be prepared and ensure we’ve got things in line to replace them.
“And we have got plans in place to ensure that we’re stronger than we were at the beginning of January.”
Di Santo made his long-awaited return from an ankle problem at the weekend against Fulham, coming on for the last five minutes of the 1-1 draw.
McCarthy could make next Tuesday’s visit of Aston Villa after ankle ligament damage, while Moses is also on the verge of a comeback from a dislocated shoulder. “Fortunately, I think we’re over the worst of our injury crisis, and we’re hoping to see the return of Victor and James soon in addition to Franco,” Jackson added.
“That’s a huge boost for the club – it’s almost like having three new signings – and I think it’ll put us in a great position to start climbing the league.”
Jackson, meanwhile, has welcomed Dave Whelan’s decision to replace £48million of the debt Latics owe to his ‘Whelco’ company and one of his family Trusts with New Ordinary Preferred Shares.
In doing so, the club’s debt to Whelco and the Trustees has effectively been reduced to just £7.2million, with Barclays Bank their only other principal lenders.
Whelan, in a statement to the club’s shareholders, reckons the change – which will hopefully be rubber-stamped at a General Meeting next month – is ‘in the best interests of the company’.
And Jackson added: “The board are mindful of the concerns of the football authorities regarding the level of debt within football clubs, which may lead to the introduction of rules in the future to limit the indebtedness levels of clubs.
“We have therefore decided to take pre-emptive action to reduce the debt, for the long-term financial health of Wigan Athletic Football Club.”
Whelan, his family and trusts own 100% of Whelco Holdings Ltd shares, and approximately 86% of the existing ordinary shares in Wigan Athletic.
Wigan’s game at Manchester City on Saturday, March 5 will now be screened live on ESPN, and the kick-off has been put back slightly to 5.30pm.