LATICS boss Owen Coyle refused to rule out a sensational swoop for Blackburn hotshot Jordan Rhodes to bolster his frontline ahead of the transfer deadline.
Rumours were rife in the weekend press that Latics are lining up a move for the Scotland international, who scored 28 goals for Rovers last term after his £8million arrival from Huddersfield.
Currently Latics have only Grant Holt and Marc-Antoine Fortune as senior strikers, with the former limping off during the second half of yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Middlesbrough after opening the scoring.
When asked about Rhodes, Coyle replied: “I never mention specific names, but there’s no doubt he (Rhodes) is an outstanding player and a goalscorer.
“Whether we made an enquiry last week or not, that is something that is best kept between ourselves.
“You can never have enough goalscorers at your football club, and we’ll be doing everything we can before the transfer window to do that.
“It’s fair to say it’s an area we’re looking to bolster, and there may be one or two things that are out there that are of interest to us.
“As far as balancing the books goes, we are still over a million pounds in profit from the sales of Arouna Kone and Mauro Boselli.
“This football club is run very, very well, but of course any goalscorer will come at a premium - that goes without saying.”
One player who won’t be arriving at the DW is Newcastle’s Sammy Ameobi, following scurrilous reports from the North East that Coyle was interested.
“I’ve got to say that there was a report somewhere
that linked us with the
young lad at Newcastle,” a visibly annoyed Coyle
“I don’t know who was responsible for the story, but whoever it was needs to have a good look at themselves.
“Whether I think he’s a good player or not, he is not a name that I have ever mentioned.
“I’m all for things being done properly, but when people are inventing names and conversations that I’ve supposedly had, you need to draw a line somewhere.”
Meanwhile, Coyle bemoaned an inability to ‘shut the back door’ after watching Latics drop two more points against Middlesbrough.
For the second time in the space of four days, Wigan had to dig deep in the closing stages to rescue a point from a game they’d earlier threatened to dominate.
Whereas Leon Barnett had been Tuesday night’s hero against Doncaster, this time it was substitute Jordi Gomez who stepped up with just five minutes remaining to make it 2-2.
Wigan had led through Holt’s early penalty, but found themselves trailing when George Friend equalised before half-time and then Grant Leadbitter put the Teessiders ahead inside the final quarter.
Gomez, though, bagged his first goal of the campaign with five minutes left after Roger Espinoza had been fouled on the edge of the penalty area.
“We lost two more avoidable goals, and that is proving to be a real problem at the moment,” recognised Coyle.
“The first goal has taken a deflection off Emmerson Boyce, and it should have been dealt with in the wide area before it came in.
“The second goal was just a hopeful punt up the field, which we’ve allowed to bounce, and we had two opportunities to clear but failed to do.
“We’re not shutting the door at the back, and ultimately you’re paying a heavy price for that.
“Having said that the character was there in abundance and we could easily have won the game.
“We could easily have had three penalties in the first half that would have seen us out of sight.”
Coyle revealed Shaun Maloney missed the game because of a foot problem picked up in the week against Doncaster.
But the Latics chief hopeful both the playmaker and Holt will be fit to face in-form Nottingham Forest next weekend.
“We thought Shaun would be available, but he needed five stitches in a gash on his foot after the Doncaster game,” Coyle said.
“He had a fitness test before the game, but he wasn’t comfortable twisting and turning which is a big part of his game.
“Grant has picked up a knock that we hope will be all right for next weekend.”