Nicholls poised for another loan spell

Lee Nicholls in training

Lee Nicholls in training

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LEE Nicholls looks set to leave Wigan Athletic on loan for a SIXTH time to gain some much-needed game-time.

The 22-year-old goalkeeper has already spent time away at Hartlepool, Shrewsbury, Sheffield Wednesday, Accrington and Northampton during his fledgling Latics career.

Obviously Lee needs games and, if the opportunity arises, then there is a possibility of that

Gary Caldwell

It had looked like Nicholls would challenge for a first-team this term following the departures of Scott Carson and Ali Al Habsi.

But the arrival this week of Jussi Jaaskelainen, in addition to the summer signing of Walsall’s player of the year Rich O’Donnell, means opportunities could again be hard to come by - even more so with Latics crashing out of the Capital One Cup to Bury on Tuesday night.

And boss Gary Caldwell remains open to the idea of Nicholls again going out to further his footballing education with valuable first-team football.

“There’s a possibility of that,” admitted the Latics boss.

“Obviously Lee needs games and, if the opportunity arises, then there is a possibility of that.”

Nicholls excelled at League Two level during his spell at Northampton three years ago, and the natural progression would be to see if he can do likewise at League One level.

Caldwell was keen to bring in another experienced stopper, with Chris Kirkland close to joining last week before the deal fell through.

And the gaffer believes Latics have pulled off a real coup in persuading 40-year-old Jaaskelainen to come to the DW, despite rival offers from Championship clubs.

“He’s a massive addition to the squad,” acknowledged Caldwell.

“We’ve got a lot of young players, and Jussi won’t just help the other goalkeepers but the whole squad.

“He’ll help the players in setbacks like Tuesday night, knowing how to manage it, how to react.

“He’s been there and done it many times, and he knows what it takes to be successful.”

Jaaskelainen made his Latics debut yesterday for the Development Squad in a friendly at Burnley.

Kirkland, meanwhile, has joined Preston North End on a one-year deal.