Richardson makes case for Wigan Athletic defence

Cedric Kipre
Cedric Kipre

Leam Richardson insists Wigan Athletic’s mini defensive blip is a thing of the past after the new-look backline once again proved its mettle against Rotherham.

After boasting the best defensive record in the EFL last season, Latics began the season in stark contrast - leaking 10 goals in their first four matches in all competitions.

That was partly due to the injury-enforced absence of Nathan Byrne and Dan Burn, with Chey Dunkley the only surviving member of the fab four.

But with new recruits Antonee Robinson, Reece James and Cedric Kipre getting their feet under the table, Latics have tightened up, shipping only one goal - a hotly-disputed effort at QPR - in the last three matches.

And Richardson says it’s the result of a great deal of work behind the scenes.

“We’re built off a solid base,” the Latics assistant boss acknowledged.

“From the front edge of the pitch...Powelly and Griggy defend tirelessly...the midfielders form a wall and the back four will always get the plaudits.

“But all the team worked hard for the clean sheet and that’s what we’re aiming for.

“The temperament of the defending, the willingness to get in the way of the ball, was fantastic.

“Teams like Rotherham put lots of balls into your area and you’ve got to stand up to that.

“We’ve proved we are a team that can do that aspect of the game and we can only get better once the understanding improves.”

The win over Rotherham was the perfect way to sign off for the international break, and Richardson says it’s come at the perfect time for Latics.

“For a few lads it’ll be chance to recharge the batteries,” he revealed.

“It’s been quite a hectic period, and injuries can creep up on you.

“Crackers (Jacobs) and Gav (Massey) have already succumbed and that’s the danger.

“It’s important to get some rest into some of the lads who need it.

“But on the other hand it’s important to get some work into some of the other lads who need it, who maybe haven’t featured as much.

“Everybody was conscious of the need to sign off for the international break with a positive result.

“You always want to go away with a win, buoyant, and thankfully we did that.”