Cook anxious to clear the decks

Mikael Mandron
Mikael Mandron

Sanmi Odelusi will be followed out of the exit door by several other fringe first-teamers as Paul Cook looks to shape his Wigan Athletic squad into a more manageable number.

Odelusi departed by ‘mutual consent’ on Wednesday, having made just five appearances since joining from Bolton in the summer of 2015.

The forward never remotely looked like making the grade at the DW, and indeed spent last season on loan at Rochdale and then Blackpool.

And Cook expects many more departures before the transfer deadline at the end of next month, as he continues to stamp his authority.

“For me now, obviously it’s a difficult one, because we do have a lot of numbers,” Cook told the Wigan Post.

“It’s keeping players happy, balanced with what we’d like to do in terms of bringing in.

“The numbers are very high, and what we have to do is reduce those numbers.

“We’ve been dealt these cards, and we’re trying to do our best as we go along.

“All in all, it’s all going well, and we’ll keep plugging away.”

Already this summer Latics have seen skipper Stephen Warnock and vice-captain Jake Buxton depart, with defenders Chey Dunkley, Terell Thomas and forward Gavin Massey joining up.

But there looks to be a huge question mark against the futures of several other fringe first-teamers as Cook looks to trim numbers – and the wage bill.

They include Mikael Mandron, who arrived in January from non-league Eastleigh, but made only four appearances last term and hasn’t featured so far in pre-season.

Also likely to be on his way is striker Billy Mckay, who was signed from Inverness in January 2015, but has made just one Latics start, before being loaned out to Dundee United, Oldham and back to Caley.

Another expected to depart is midfielder Danny Whitehead, who is still to feature since arriving from Macclesfield in January 2016.

“Without a shadow of a doubt there’s going to be movement out,” Cook added.

“We want to bring in players, and the chairman’s been very supportive with that.

“He wants to sign players as much as we do, but we’re just tempering that with reducing the numbers.

“Sometimes if the right one is there, and you have to do it or risk missing out, you have to do it. But at the minute we are concentrating more on getting people out.”

The emergence of youngsters such as Owen Evans, Luke Burgess, Chris Merrie, Sam Stubbs and Callum Lang has also persuaded Cook to cull the number of senior pro’s not central to his plans.