WIGAN Athletic can draw on the experiences of no less than seven players when it comes to promotion to the Premier League this season.
The likes of Scott Carson, Leon Barnett, James Perch, Ben Watson, all know the feeling of getting out of England’s second tier.
Another of those is left-back Stephen Crainey, who won promotion with Blackpool in 2010 through the play-offs.
When quizzed on how to repeat the feat, the Scot insists a good start to the campaign is vital to Wigan’s hopes of making an instant return to the Premier League.
Latics have got a tough start to the campaign, with trips to Barnsley and Bournemouth sandwiching a weekend off for the Community Shield.
And Crainey recognises the need to hit the ground running at Oakwell this afternoon.
“Pre-season’s gone well and we feel like we’re ready to give it a good go now,” Crainey told the Evening Post.
“It’s vital we hit the ground running. The Championship is so relentless and a good start is imperative.
“If you can do that, hopefully the momentum can keep you going.
“It’s tough, it’s relentless, but we’ve got some very good players in this squad and we’re going for it on all fronts.
“With us having the weekend off the following week because of the Community Shield it’s even more important we get something at Barnsley.
“I’ve played there a few times, it’s a very tough place to go, very hostile and their fans get right behind them.
“But we’re taking a few thousand fans and that should make for a fantastic atmosphere.”
Crainey is one of NINE summer signings made by new boss Owen Coyle.
And the former Bolton chief is keeping his fingers crossed a hectic pre-season will have helped them knit together ahead of a stiff test.
“It will be a tough game,” Coyle admitted.
“They were the form team of the Championship at the end of last season, and it’s always a tough venue.
“They will look to start the season on a high and the way they finished last season.
“There’s no doubt it will be tough but we have to stand up and be counted.
“If you look through the fixture list, you can’t pick any easy game - and that’s the way it should be.”