'Help Wigan Athletic stay up - for next year's group'
Latics travel to fellow strugglers Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night looking to move out of the relegation zone for the first time in months.
It’s already been a campaign unlike any other – on and off the pitch – with the squad that finished last term being wiped out, and replaced by loan arrivals, short-term signings and Academy youngsters.
Tom Pearce, Callum Lang, Luke Robinson and Thelo Aasgaard are the only senior players who are contracted for next season, with Latics set for another summer of upheaval – regardless of which division they’re in.
But with so many futures up in the air, Richardson wants the squad to come together and fight for what they can control – Wigan’s own divisional status.
“There’s only three or four players here who are contracted beyond the end of the season,” said the Latics interim boss.
“The vast majority of them aren’t our players, or who are going to be free agents for next year – with no future affiliation to the football club.
"It’s my job to highlight the importance of the history of the football club, the enormity of the challenge ahead... and the fact that the greater the challenge, the greater the success, and the greater the rewards.
“That’s what I’ve been trying to get through to the players.”
Latics have already used a staggering 39 players this term, meaning the chances of getting any kind of continuity and understanding has been nigh on impossible.
“I saw a stat the other day that we’ve used more players than anyone else in the league – and it’s mind-blowing,” acknowledged Richardson.
“But it probably underlines where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going.
“We’ve had so many different teams, so many different back fours, so many strike partnerships... and it shows at times.
“To be a successful team, you need to know where your mate is, and where he’s going to be.
“This group are still getting to know each other – and the sooner they can do that, the better.
“First and foremost, you need to be comfortable in your own skin, and your own strengths and weaknesses, and what you give the team.
“And you also need to know that about your partner, and the players around you.
"We have a group of players who are hopefully now recognising we are all on the same bus, and we are all going in the same direction towards the same result.
"The quicker we can come together, and impose ourselves as a group on others, the better.”
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