Warnock’s fit for the battle!

Stephen Warnock

Stephen Warnock

Stephen Warnock insists he’s ‘fit, ready and raring to go’ after joining Wigan Athletic’s promotion push from Championship high-flyers Derby for the rest of the season.

Latics swooped for the 34-year-old ex-Liverpool and England full-back to solve a temporary problem on the left-hand side of the defence.

First-choice left-back Reece James is currently out with a damaged ankle, while stand-in Chris McCann picked up his 10th booking of the campaign against Peterborough on Saturday, which triggers a two-match suspension.

Ex-Bolton man Andy Kellett is seen as more of a midfielder now by manager Gary Caldwell, who switch regular right-back Reece Wabara to the opposite flank as a stop-gap at the weekend.

Warnock started the season in the Derby line-up under Paul Clement, but found himself out of favour at the iPro Stadium when Darren Wassall took over as boss last month.

And Caldwell moved swiftly when he learned the vastly-experienced Warnock could be available.

“It’s perfect to come into another promotion battle,” acknowledged Warnock.

“We will be striving for something at the end of the season, and I am joining the club in a good, healthy position. Hopefully I can help along the way to get us promoted.

“I got contacted by the manager last week, and he asked my availability and whether I would be interested in coming.

“I think the chance to play football was the biggest lure for me, and I am fit, ready and raring to go.”

Ormskirk-born Warnock admits he can’t wait to kickstart his career at the DW.

“The point had come at Derby where I wasn’t playing games,” added Warnock, who played alongside Latics vice-captain Jason Pearce during their time together at Leeds.

“I wasn’t involved and, although I had enjoyed my season there, the time had come where I needed to get out and play football on a regular basis.

“I know Pearcey from Leeds, and he only had good things to say about this club and the future. It’s been a slow process, but I am pleased it is now over the line.”

Warnock started his career at Liverpool, where he won winners medals in both the FA Cup and Champions League before moving on to Blackburn, Aston Villa, Leeds, Bolton, Bradford and Coventry.

He was named in the England squad for the 2010 World Cup ahead of ex-Latics man Leighton Baines, although he did not feature in any of the Three Lions’ games.

Warnock will wear the No.22 shirt for Latics.