DAVE Whelan admits he can’t wait for the new Championship to get under way this weekend.
And he fully expects Wigan Athletic to ‘deliver’ in their quest for promotion.
After two training camps in Germany and an intense programme back home at Christopher Park, the Latics players are champing at the bit to go one better than last term and secure promotion back to the Premier League.
First up is Reading at the DW Stadium, and the chairman is counting down the minutes to the big kick-off.
“It’s always the same feeling on the eve of the season,” Whelan told the Evening Post.
“I expect the lads to deliver, I expect the manager to deliver.
“Having played the game, I know it’s not always easy.
“At the start of the season, every team is confident and every team thinks they’re going to have an good season - and quite rightly so.
“It’s when the season starts to unfold – and it will – that things become more clear.
“The will to win has got to be there within the team, and that comes down from the manager.
“How he does it, sometimes you don’t know, but I know our boss will make sure it’s in our team.”
Latics have suffered a disrupted pre-season, with several players picking up injuries to add to the long-term absentees like Chrius McCann and Ben Watson.
To redress the balance, boss Uwe Rosler has brought in six new signings - Andrew Taylor, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, James Tavernier, Oriol Riera, Don Cowie, and Emyr Huws.
And Whelan is confident the team will be better able to cope than they did two years ago, when a succession of injuries contributed to their
relegation into the Championship.
“The injury situation took us out of the Premier League - I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” he added.
“We had everything that year but it’s hard to compete when you’ve got eight
players from the first team out. We’ve already had a few injuries this year but things are starting to look a little
better, and I think most will be ready for the start of the season.”
Latics continue to be frustrated in their efforts to land Brentford midfielder Adam Forshaw.
Boss Uwe Rosler is trying to land the 22-year-old for the second time in two years, having taken him to Griffin Park from Everton in 2012.
Forshaw sat out Brentford’s pre-season friendly win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, but boss Mark Warburton reckons Wigan’s valuation remains ‘unaccceptable’.
“Adam Forshaw is subject of a bid which is well-documented,” Warburton was quoted as saying after the game.
“Any bid is unsettling to a young player. I’m concerned about his welfare – he’s gone away for a couple of days to get his head straight.
“A bid is only a bid when it’s realistic. When it comes in and unsettles a player – that’s unacceptable. There’s been a second bid which is totally unacceptable.”