We can’t afford to let stars walk free - Cook

Michael Jacobs and Will Grigg
Michael Jacobs and Will Grigg

Paul Cook wants the futures of several of his Wigan Athletic stars sorted out as quickly as possible – to ease fears of losing them for nothing.

Top scorer Will Grigg and playmaker Michael Jacobs are among those who have entered the last 12 months of their contracts and, as things stand, would be allowed to talk to rival clubs on January 1.

Cook has only just arrived at the DW Stadium to take over the reins, and is still getting his feet under the table, and running the rule over his new squad.

But he says that process can only take so long, with the clock ticking – having been burned badly in the past.

“It happened with me at Portsmouth last season, we ended up losing Enda Stevens through not giving him a contract,” Cook told the Wigan Post.

“And that’s one of the reasons you become unhappy as a manager – losing your best players because of that.

“As far as this club is concerned, our chairman is very aggressive in terms of what he wants to do.

“And I’m sure those lads will be as well.

“But they’ve been part of a team that’s just been relegated, so what we want to see now is a bit of desire to bring a little bit more success on the pitch.

“I don’t like to see players entering the last years of their contract.

“But having only been here a few weeks, I’m not going to be handing out new contracts too soon.

“I want to have a look at all the lads, I want to work with them, but I’d envisage that will only be a short period of time.

“I’m sure something will be happening there.”

All things being equal, Grigg and Jacobs will be key men next season, with Latics hoping to bounce back from the disappointment of relegation from the Championship at the first attempt.

Grigg scored 29 goals in all competition in 2015-16, lifting the Golden Boot as Latics took the League One title in style.

It was Grigg’s third promotion from the third tier – and the third time he’s reached the 20-goal barrier – and he’s super confident of extending both records as soon as he’s fully recovered from knee surgery.

Jacobs was also a central figure to the promotion-winning campaign two years ago.

He was the go-to man in the first half of the season, while other areas struggled to click.

And despite being sidelined through injury from January until April, he ended the season back in the team and at the heart of the creative department.

Defenders Donervon Daniels, Reece James and Andy Kellett are also in the last year of their present deals, having arrived in the summer of 2015.

But all three will have to prove their fitness to Cook, having made a combined total of six league appearances last term due to long-term injury.