Sharpe: We’ve learned some painful lessons

David Perkins became the first recruit of the summer
David Perkins became the first recruit of the summer

DAVID Sharpe is confident Wigan Athletic’s summer recruitment will stand them in better stead for the new season than 12 months ago.

There looks to be a busy few months ahead for Latics, with the chairman reckoning as many as 15 new players could be arriving to counter the mass exodus.

You can only tell whether it’s been successful or not when the season itself starts

David Sharpe

Kim Bo-Kyung, Gaetan Bong, Ali Al Habsi, Marc-Antoine Fortune and William Kvist have already left the DW Stadium after seeing out their contracts, while Emmerson Boyce looks to have played his last game for the club after rejecting a new deal.

With the six loan players who represented Latics in the second half of last term also out of the equation, Gary Caldwell has plenty of work to do to get his squad ready to hit the ground for the big kick-off on August 8.

And the gaffer’s already moved fast to bring in two new additions.

Midfielder David Perkins has been snapped up following his release from Blackpool earlier this month.

And Walsall goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell has joined to provide competition for Lee Nicholls, with Scott Carson expected to follow Ali Al Habsi out of the exit door.

Several more are expected to be on board by the time Latics return for pre-season training on June 25.

And Sharpe believes the work being done by the new-look recruitment team – headed by Matt Jackson – will ensure Latics are more successful in the market than they were last summer.

“You can only tell whether it’s been successful or not when the season itself starts,” Sharpe said.

“You can put together a squad that on paper looks good – like we did last season, when everyone was excited.

“We’d brought in a Spanish striker from La Liga (Oriol Riera), a French striker who’d been the top goalscorer in Ligue 2 (Andy Delort), and we thought it was going to be a promotion-winning season.

“It just shows you can’t predict what will happen.

“But what we can do is limit the risk in terms of failures coming in to the football club, and that’s what we’re hopefully going to achieve.

“We’re looking at every tiny detail that will affect how players are on the pitch, into their personalities and how they’ve been over the last few years, injuries – everything that affects them as a footballer.”

Riera managed only one goal at the DW – against Blackpool last August – before returning to Spain and Deportivo La Coruna on loan in January.

The striker at least ended the campaign on a high note, helping Deportivo draw 2-2 at champions Barcelona in their final match on Sunday to avoid the drop.

Sharpe has said Riera will be back at the DW next term, but Latics may well opt to cash in if a decent offer is tabled.