Barrow buoyed by pre-season outing

Grant Holt in action against Rochdale
Grant Holt in action against Rochdale

GRAHAM Barrow declared himself satisfied with most aspects of Wigan Athletic’s weekend trip to Rochdale.

Latics went down to their first defeat of pre-season, 2-1 at Spotland, despite James Tavernier’s wonder-strike just before the interval.

All the goals came in the first half, a youthful-looking Latics side dominating after the break but failing to get on the end of a succession of quality crosses from the flanks.

And assistant boss Barrow – facing the media instead of Uwe Rosler – reckoned there were plenty of postives to be gleaned from the outing.

“You know us, we’re never happy to have lost a game, but you always have to read more into these pre-season games,” Barrow told the Evening Post.

“We were relatively happy with the progress we’ve made in terms of the games we’ve played so far.

“And also the fact we left so many of our top players out of the squad and we managed to give a creditable performance.

“I know the gaffer’s been here since December, but it was a really hectic programme we had between then and the end of the season.

“And being here for the full pre-season will have given him more of an insight into the club, into the younger players we’ve got, who he’s been able to look at closely in training and in matches.

“He’s finding out more and more what he’s got available to him both for now and for the future.

“Some players who needed a full game, or a lot of minutes, under their belt did that, and the pleasing thing was seeing once again what James Tavernier can give us.”

Tavernier, a close-season arrival from Newcastle, was once again Wigan’s star man, with a host of impressive deliveries from the right that his colleagues couldn’t quite take advantage of.

And Barrow admits Latics have a real gem on their hands - both on and off the field.

“To be fair to the lad, from the very first training session he’s shown his quality, which is fantastic - top drawer,” Barrow acknowledged.

“Any centre-forward at the football club should relish seeing his name on the team sheet, because they know there’s plenty of goals there to be had.

“At this club we’ve not only got some good players but really good people, good characters, and James certainly falls into that category.

“The gaffer is very big on team spirit, and James is only going to add to that.”

Latics will jet back out to Germany on Wednesday for their second training camp of the summer, ahead of the big kick-off on August 9.

And with injuries biting even at this early stage, Barrow revealed there could be more new faces arriving over the coming few days.

“Hopefully we can get in another couple of players that we all know we need,” he added.

“If we could do that before we come home from Germany that would be fantastic.”