NEW-boy Don Cowie expects to feel right at home after signing with Wigan Athletic.
The club’s Tartan contingent swelled yesterday when the Scotland international joined on a two-year deal from Cardiff City.
The 31-year-old midfielder – Latics’ fifth summer recruit – had looked like he might be on his way back north of the border to join Rangers.
But Latics have moved swiftly to pip the Gers and Championship rivals Blackburn to his signature.
And Cowie will need no introduction to the likes of Gary Caldwell, James McArthur and Shaun Maloney, with fellow Scot Aaron Taylor-Sinclair having also joined this summer.
He said: “As soon as James McArthur found out I might be signing he was on the phone nearly every day to me, he spoke really highly of the club.
“You know what Jamesy is like he’s a great character, a hyperactive guy and it’s people like him who are great to work with on a daily basis in football.
“I know quite a few of the Scottish boys as well, and I know Leon Barnett and Andrew Taylor from my time at Cardiff, so it’s great to come into a squad with some familiar faces.”
After spells with Ross County and Inverness in his homeland, Cowie moved to England in 2009 to join Watford, where he stayed for two successful seasons.
He then joined Cardiff in 2011, helping the Bluebirds win promotion to the Premier League in his second year in south Wales.
Cowie made 17 appearances last term as Cardiff were relegated back to the Championship.
Despite being offered a new deal by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Cowie has opted to move on as a free agent and join Latics’ promotion push.
Cowie becomes the second player to swap Cardiff for Wigan in recent weeks, with Andrew Taylor having been Uwe Rosler’s first off-season capture last month.
“The club has achieved a lot in such a short space of time and after leaving Cardiff, I knew this was the place I wanted to be,” he added.
“The manager’s influence on me signing was big, I met him out in Germany and I knew quite quickly that he was the right man for me to work with.
“His vision of how to play football is exciting and it suits me perfectly as a player.
“I’m a midfielder who loves to be on the ball, I like to get forward and score goals, but I’m also willing to put a shift in for the team.”
Meanwhile, Latics entertain League One outfit Walsall in a behind-closed-doors friendly at the club’s Christopher Park training ground today.
The game was originally scheduled to be played at the Leigh Sports Village, but had to be switched due to concerns over the playing surface following the recent Elton John gig.
Latics are already off the mark in pre-season, courtesy of the 3-1 victory over TSV Havelse which rounded off last week’s successful training camp in Germany.
With less than a month to go before the big Championship kick-off against Reading on August 9, Rosler will be placing more importance on this afternoon’s fixture.
Shaun Maloney won’t feature after picking up a calf injury on the German trip, although the problem is not serious and he should be fit for the start of the new campaign.
Long-term absentees Ben Watson (broken leg) and Chris McCann (fractured kneecap) are also making good progress.
And they will both will be jetting out to Germany with the rest of the squad later this month for the second training camp.
Other than that, everyone else is available for the visit of the Saddlers, with Rosler again expected to shuffle his pack to ensure he gets a good look at as many players as possible.
Supporters are reminded that today’s game will be played behind closed doors, and refunds for the original fixture remain available from the DW Stadium.
Tuesday’s friendly against Besiktas takes place at the DW Stadium, kick-off is 7pm with cash turnstiles only.