Cedric Kipre on how Kal Naismith has helped him - and Wigan Athletic - turn a corner

Cedric Kipre
Cedric Kipre

'New year, new start’ – that’s the Wigan Athletic mantra heading into 2020, according to Cedric Kipre.

Latics return to league action this weekend against Bristol City, aiming to build on the morale-boosting 3-2 victory at Birmingham on New Year’s Day.

And the big centre-back – who’s been one of the key men in the recent run of only one defeat in the last six Championship fixtures – is adamant a corner has been turned.

“We’d been playing well for a few weeks, and we always knew a win was going to come along,” Kipre said.

“We just had to keep playing the way we had been doing, and we were rewarded at Birmingham.

“We’d been paying the price for individual mistakes, which have meant we haven’t picked up the points we’ve deserved.

“I also felt the luck wasn’t with us at all, and hopefully that changed with the win in Birmingham.

“But I have to say the confidence in the squad never dropped, even during the bad run.

“Obviously we haven’t been scoring many goals, so that might have been tough for the forward players.

“But as a team we felt we were playing well and that kept us going. The key now is to take that forward.”

Having spent much of the first half of the campaign waiting for an opportunity to impress, Kipre has been an imperious figure at the back in the last month.

His partnership with Kal Naismith – who is expected to return to the side this weekend after missing the FA Cup third-round defeat at Leicester with a thigh injury – has provided a solid platform.

And he says he hasn’t been surprised at how well the Scot, predominantly a midfielder player, has settled into his new role at centre-half .

“It wasn’t really a surprise for him to see how well he’s done,” added Kipre.

“I saw him play there against Birmingham at the end of last season, and I was very impressed.

“Obviously last month I was the only centre-back left because of injury and suspension, and I knew Naisy would come in and do well.

“He’s stepped in to the challenge and he’s done very well since he’s been in the team.

“He’s obviously been doing very well, and that in turn helps me and also the team.

“When I’m playing alongside him, I’m on the right-hand side, and I’m more comfortable there.

“He has brought confidence into the defence, and it’s good to play with him.”