International break will help new-boys gel, says Wigan Athletic boss Cook

Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook
Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook

Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook is looking forward to a ‘big’ international week so that his late-assembled squad can spend a chunk of time on the training pitch and gel.

Latics host Barnsley on Saturday and bid to end a run of five straight defeats.

Cook has brought in seven new signings since they opened the campaign with a 3-2 win over Cardiff City. The Latics boss had already brought in keeper David Marshall from Hull City, midfielder Lewis Macleod from Brentford and full-back Antonee Robinson and midfielder Joe Williams from Everton in July.

But the majority of Cook’s business commenced at the start of August with winger Jamal Lowe joining from Portsmouth, keeper Dániel Gyollai joining from Stoke City and right back Dujon Sterling on-loan from Chelsea on August 1.

The signings would rumble on after that Cardiff victory with striker Kieffer Moore moving from Barnsley, left-back Tom Pearce leaving Leeds United for the DW Stadium.

Keeper James Aspinall joined from Bolton, Cook raided non-league to sign centre-back JackSaunders from Leek Town with full-back Patrick Webber signing from Ipswich Town.

Wolves attacker Bright Enobakhare and Blackburn Rovers centre-half Charlie Mulgrew also joined on-loan. With the majority of his 14 summer signings missing his pre-season schedule Cook is looking forward to getting on the training pitches with his players in the two week international break.

After Saturday’s Barnsley clash Wigan then head to Hull on September 14. Mulgrew and Marshall will be away on international duty after their call-ups to the Scotland side.

While striker Moore may also be away as the striker has also been called up to the Wales squad. Moore has upped his recovery from a calf knock this week and could be in contention to face Barnsley.

His fellow forward Joe Garner has also just returned to action from a rib injury with Josh Windass, winger Anthony Pilkington and attacker Joe Gelhardt all in the treatment room but nearing returns.

And Cook is keen to use this upcoming two-week gap to help his players gel. Asked if they needed time, he said: “I think in the modern football world, no.

“In the real world, yeah. I think people expect magic. Unfortunately we have not got that magic dust.

“You look at last Tuesday night (in the 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough) for example. We had lads playing in the team together for the first time.

“Yet people nowadays in football, yourselves (journalists) with records and goals, you want instant success. I think the quicker the lads integrate together in terms of training regularly.

“The international break will be big for us because we get to train for two more weeks.

“That is something we did not get in pre-season.

“Our squad was put together very late. That is not a criticism.

“It is just how it is, to the point now where lads are still making their debuts and formations are coming up with players playing together for the first time.

“For example Jedi (Robinson) and Jamal Lowe played on the left side of the pitch for the first time on Saturday (against Leeds).

“Sam Morsy and Joe Williams played together (for the first time).

“While we want the lads to do well, we must respect that it will take time.”