O’Donnell ‘snubbed offers to leave before joining Robins’

Rich O'Donnell
Rich O'Donnell
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RICH O’Donnell turned down ‘a few’ opportunities to leave Wigan Athletic before joining Bristol City on loan for the rest of the season.

The 27-year-old only arrived at the DW Stadium over the summer, having won Walsall’s player of the year award last term after collecting more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper in League One.

However, after a reasonable start to his Latics career, the wheels soon came off and he has been on the outside looking in for much of the last few months with Jussi Jaaskelainen the undisputed No.1.

O’Donnell’s last run-out was the disastrous 4-0 FA Cup drubbing at Bury in November, and he slipped down the pecking order to third choice just before Christmas when Lee Nicholls returned from his own loan spell at Bristol Rovers.

“Obviously Lee came back and went ahead of him, and Rich was somebody that intimated to me that he needed to play games,” revealed boss Gary Caldwell.

“He was our third-choice goalkeeper who wanted to play football.

“The opportunity came, and hopefully he can go there, play some games and do well.”

O’Donnell has joined the struggling Championship outfit for the rest of the season, and made his debut in last night’s 2-1 home defeat to Preston North End.

The Latics chief is hoping the South Yorkshireman can regain some lost confidence between now and May - and come back stronger for the experience.

“There were a few opportunities before Christmas that he said ‘no’ to,” Caldwell added.

“But this one came along, and he wanted to play in the Championship.

“It’s obviously a league above ours, and a great opportunity for him.”