Latics reluctantly scrap friendly

Uwe Rosler
Uwe Rosler

WIGAN Athletic will spend this week on the training ground in Germany after scrapping tomorrow night’s scheduled friendly against SC Wiedenbruck.

Latics, who lost 4-1 against Fortuna Dusseldorf in their tour opener over the weekend, reluctantly made the decision yesterday because of the risk of over-burdening the squad on the eve of the new season.

Boss Uwe Rosler is already without several of his first-team squad - including James McClean, Shaun Maloney and long-term pair Chris McCann and Ben Watson - through injury.

And with the likes of James McArthur, Rob Kiernan, Marc-Antoine Fortune, Andrew Taylor, Roger Espinoza and new-boy Don Cowie still feeling their way to full fitness, something had to give.

“We would like to apologise to everyone for the footballing reasons that have led to us cancelling the game on Tuesday,” Rosler told the Evening Post last night.

“Sometimes the situation dictates you have to make unpopular decisions and this is what has happened.

“Some players have already played more minutes in pre-season than they should and we could not allow the extra fixture. It would have stretched the squad too much.

“The plan was to rotate the players for the second match and allow the whole squad to get an equal amount of match minutes.

“However, we have already used a number of players for all of the games, and the fact they have been part of our physical preparation for the new season means the risk of losing a player for the beginning of our new campaign was too high.”

Mindful of the fact a significant number of fans have travelled to Germany to support the team, Latics will instead hold an open training session tomorrow and will meet and greet supporters as a goodwill gesture.

Friday’s final game of the tour, against SC Paderborn, will go ahead as planned, with the squad returning to the UK over the weekend.

The German tour didn’t get off to the best start with Latics crashing 4-1 against Fortuna Dusseldorf on Saturday evening.

Despite taking the lead thanks to a penalty from Oriol Riera – who also hit the bar – Latics ran out of gas in the second period and their hosts ran out deserved victors.

Erwin Hoffer (2), Mathias Bolly and Charlison Benschop scored the Dusseldorf goals, but Rosler was at least able to have a look at McArthur and Cowie for the first time this summer.

“Fortuna are at a more advanced stage of their pre-season and that showed,” added the Wigan boss.

“They were razor sharp whereas in the second half we tired.

“That is not an excuse, but it is an explanation.”