THOMAS Rogne admits the huge competition for places will lead to a meaner Wigan Athletic rearguard next term.
Uwe Rosler looks to have an embarrassment of riches at his disposal as far as the defence is concerned.
And the battle for centre-back jerseys will be the most intense in the squad with half a dozen players – Rogne, Emmerson Boyce, Ivan Ramis, Rob Kiernan, Gary Caldwell and Leon Barnett fighting for potentially two spots.
Rosler could elect to play three centre-backs, as he did during parts of last season, but that still means quality players will be sat on the sidelines.
“There’s very good competition for places in the squad – particularly in the centre of defence,” Rogne told the Evening Post.
“Everyone is giving it a go and we’ll see where it takes us.
“There’s a really good bunch of lads here, everyone gets along really well both on and off the field, but we’re also fighting for places.”
Rogne endured a difficult first year at the DW, with injuries preventing him from showing his best form after joining from Celtic.
However, after a solid pre-season behind him, he’s determined that the real Thomas Rogne will stand up and show what he’s made of.
“I feel more settled here, I would say,” the Norwegian revealed. “Last season it wasn’t the easiest because I had a tough pre-season injury-wise and I didn’t really have any time off in the summer.
“I’m hoping this season will be a lot better for me, I worked hard over the summer and I’m working hard in pre-season and see where it takes me.
“Obviously you’re always busting to get back into it after your time off for the summer – especially after the way last season ended with everyone feeling we need to avenge what happened.
“We’re laying the right foundations now and hopefully we’ll be all right when the real action starts.”
Rogne is also confident Latics can go one better than last term and win promotion back to the Premier League.
“If you get to the play-offs it’s a bit of a lottery whether you go up or not,” he added.
“I think what we have to do is aim for that automatic promotion spot, and then we’re sure.”