Latics ‘started Championship strengthening last year’

Gary Caldwell
Gary Caldwell

Gary Caldwell admits this summer’s recruitment drive at Wigan Athletic kicked-off fully 12 months ago.

The Latics boss is hoping sole summer signing Stephen Warnock will be one of ‘four or five’ additions to the playing squad over the off-season.

But it’s going to be a summer of evolution rather than revolution at the DW – in stark contrast to the revolving-door policy this time last year.

And Caldwell is quick to acknowledge the mountain of hard work done last summer will continue to bear fruit long after the joy of winning League One has subsided.

“We tried to sign players last year who would not only do well in League One, but who were really Championship quality,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.

“And I’ve got real confidence that they’ll be able to do a job at this level.

“In football you work with what you’ve got, and we were fortunate last year in being able to go out and get the best players.

“And I think this year we’re going to have a group of players that are going to be coming up with momentum, with real belief in what we’re doing.”

Caldwell will once again be backed in the transfer market as he tries to assemble a squad capable of not only hold their own in the second tier, but challenging near the top end.

“Gary will want to strengthen the squad as much as possible,” assessed CEO Jonathan Jackson. “But at the same time he’ll want to give the players that have achieved so much this season the chance to step up to the Championship and show they are capable of playing in a very competitive league.

“We’ll look to strengthen, and we’re already working on prospective signings and targets.

“That can take a number of weeks, or it can be done very quickly. But we’re looking to move quickly so that by the time the players come back for pre-season (on June 22), we’ll have a squad that will only need very fine-tuning.”