Joyce: We need reinforcements in January

Warren Joyce admits he's counting the days until the January transfer window opens so he can add much-needed reinforcements to his Wigan Athletic squad.

Sunday, 18th December 2016, 6:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:29 pm
David Perkins

The 51-year-old has endured a nightmare start to his reign at the DW, winning only one and losing five of his first seven matches, the latest setback being Saturday’s 3-2 home defeat to Ipswich.

Latics paid a high price for failing to finish off the Tractor Boys when they were on top and leading 2-1 heading into the final quarter.

With a bench including academy graduates Luke Burke, James Barrigan, Sam Stubbs, Joyce was also hamstrung by a lack of established quality to bring on and affect the game.

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“Obviously we had three academy kids on the bench, and we’ve got what we’ve got,” the Latics chief mused.

“That’s it really at the minute.

“We’re continuously assessing the squad, and another couple of bumps and bruises haven’t helped.

“We had a really good performance at Aston Villa last week, and there were four changes from that.

“A few of those boys haven’t played for a while, and to suddenly play 90 minutes is a big ask.

“We do need to add players to the squad to help our cause, yes.”

Without the services of Craig Morgan (groin), Luke Garbutt (back) and Shaun MacDonald (thigh) due to injuries picked up against Newcastle last Wednesday, the last thing Joyce wanted to see was David Perkins - last season’s Player of the Year - pulling up lame with a hamstring problem in the second half.

“It’s heavy grounds isn’t it, and we have a few older lads who have absolutely worked their socks off,” Joyce acknowledged.

“We’re picking little niggles up because players are giving me everything they’ve got.”

As to the extent of Perkins’ injury, Joyce added: “I don’t can’t assess that until later in the week.”

In the absence of Garbutt, Stephen Warnock became the latest player to fill the problematic right-back position, allowing Andy Kellett to feature in his regular left-back berth.

Joyce admitted he chose Warnock for the role partly to look after Ipswich dangerman Tom Lawrence, with whom he worked at Manchester United.

“You’re just looking at the different strengths of the opposition,” Joyce revealed.

“I know Tom all too well, and you get a chance to speak to players in the week before a game.

“You know Tom is going to come in off the left on to his right foot all the time, he’s a threat, and that was something we were aware of.”