THE majority of the Wigan Athletic squad return this morning for pre-season training – just 54 days after drawing a line under the car crash that was last term.
And the period between now and the big kick-off on August 8 will make or break Latics’ hopes of regaining their Championship status at the first attempt.
With so many new players arriving, it’ll be about team building and working on that understanding between each otherMike Pollitt
That’s the message from Mike Pollitt (inset) who has seen it, done it and bought the t-shirt during his quarter-century stint in the game.
It will be a much-changed pool of players being put through their paces with James McClean, Rob Kiernan and Scott Carson having been sold, William Kvist, Marc-Antoine Fortune, Gaetan Bong and Emmerson Boyce having seen out their contracts and the half-dozen loan players utilised last term having returned to their parent clubs.
Three new players – goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell, centre-back Craig Morgan and midfielder David Perkins – have arrived, with the promise of many more, some possibly by the end of this week.
And the Latics goalkeeping coach is adamant what happens at Christopher Park, and the forthcoming training camps in Spain and Scotland, will prove critical in the weeks and months ahead.
“With so many new players arriving, it’ll be about team building and working on that understanding between each other,” Pollitt told the Evening Post.
“It’s important the new lads integrate as quickly as possible, and pre-season is invaluable in that process.
“You’re working together every day, and the trips mean you’re living in each other’s pockets for five, six, seven days at a time.
“It’s not just on the pitch, it’s off it where players need to settle in to new surroundings.”
Pollitt admits weeks like this make him glad he made the decision to swap playing for coaching last summer.
“It’s great not having to watch what I’m eating at this time of year,” he added. “I’m not worrying about body fats and stuff like that, I’ll leave that to the others.
“Pre-season’s a lot different nowadays, certainly from what I started.”