New-boy Nathan Byrne says he’s hoping to help Wigan Athletic find their feet in a division he regards as ‘the toughest in the world’.
The right-wing back was one of three deadline-day arrivals at the DW Stadium last week, when he joined from Championship rivals Wolves on a three-year deal for a fee in the region of £400,000.
And having played in the second tier last season, Byrne knows exactly how difficult the next eight months are going to be for his new side.
“Physically I personally think the Championship is the toughest league in the world,” Byrne told the Evening Post.
“It’s a battle every single game, every single week.
“In some leagues around the world, the top teams will be looking at some games and thinking they’ve got a very good chance of winning the game.
“In the Championship, literally 20 out of the 24 teams are on the same level, and it’s about who turns up on the day.
“From a fans’ point of view, that’s a very exciting competition to watch. And that’s why you need a good squad, with plenty of numbers, because it is a gruelling season.”
The capture of Byrne capped a prolonged chase for Latics boss Gary Caldwell, who had tried to land him from Swindon last summer before being pipped by Wolves.
Byrne didn’t play as much football as he’d have hoped at Molineux, and had no doubts about moving up the M6 just before the transfer window slammed shut.
“My agent was saying for around a week that something should happen, but day by day it wasn’t happening so it was a bit of a stressful time,” he added.
“But I’m buzzing that it did go through and I’m buzzing that I’m here at Wigan.
“Obviously I’ve seen all the highlights from this season, and it’s clear Wigan play attractive football which attracted me here. I knew what they were about and I want to be a part of that.
“No player wants to join a club just to make up the numbers. You want to be playing every single week, and showing everyone what you have as a player.
“This week’s just about building my fitness up, because my pre-season has been a bit up and down, and being ready if and when the manager needs me.
“I’m really happy with my contract, and the plan is not to be up and away again in a year’s time. I want to get settled here and prove to my team-mates and the fans what I can do.”