O’Donnell: We’ll be the prize scalp in League 1

Richard O'Donnell

Richard O'Donnell

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NEW-BOY Richard O’Donnell believes Wigan Athletic will be up there to be shot at in League One next season.

The 26-year-old goalkeeper will formally join Latics on July 1 on a three-year deal from Walsall, for whom he won the Player of the Season award last term.

O’Donnell plumped for a move to the DW Stadium despite rival interest from clubs in League One and the Championship, and believes his new side can win promotion at the first attempt.

But he knows full well the huge challenge Latics will face against teams who will see them as the biggest scalp in the division.

“We’ll probably be the biggest team in League One next season, and all the other teams will want to beat us,” O’Donnell told the Evening Post.

“They’ll want to beat us at the DW Stadium and they’ll also make it difficult when we visit their grounds.

“You’ve got Sheffield United and Millwall as well, but given the recent history of the club won the FA Cup only two years ago – we’ll be a scalp for a lot of other teams, and we have to be ready to deal with that.”

O’Donnell is expected to fight for the No.1 jersey next season with Lee Nicholls, who recently penned a new two-year extension to his contract.

Scott Carson is also under contract for another 12 months, but the ex-England stopper is expected to move on following relegation from the Championship.

Carson is one of the highest earners at the club having arrived in the summer of 2013, and a mutual parting of the ways looks like being the best solution all round.

Ali Al Habsi has already announced he is moving on after five years at the club.

The Oman No.1 is currently in his homeland assessing his options, but has this week been linked with Premier League rivals Tottenham and West Ham as well as Championship outfit Reading.