Warren Joyce has hosed down speculation linking defender Reece Wabara with a return to Wigan Athletic.
The 24-year-old is a free agent after leaving Latics at the end of last season, having not fixed himself up with a new club, and would therefore be able to sign outside the transfer window.
Despite Wigan’s well-documented problems at right-back, however, Joyce insists bringing in a free agent midway through a season would be problematic.
“If you’re looking at the work, and the things I am meticulous about, there is a build-up to it,” the Latics boss explained.
“I’ve been pleased by the attitude of the players here so far, and I feel there has been some improvement. There’s still a long way to go, and a lot of things I want to improve.
“But you’ve got to have a certain type of base to be able to withstand some of the training and develop and improve from there.
“It would depend how far a (new) player is away from that. If they’re months away, it’s not ideal in this situation.”
When asked specifically whether Wabara was on the radar, Joyce added: “It’s not really one we’d look to progress at the minute.”
Wabara joined Latics midway through last term after completing a short-term deal at Barnsley.
He made 19 appearances, scoring one goal, as Latics clinched the League One title.
He was also named in the League One ‘Team of the Season’ as voted by opposition managers.