Leam Richardson being 'careful' with Wigan Athletic youngsters
Boss Leam Richardson is taking steps to ensure he doesn’t over-expose his young players this season.
One of the silver linings to last season’s dark cloud - other than survival - was the emergence of a crop of homegrown stars, such as Luke Robinson and Adam Long, while Callum Lang starred after returning from a loan spell.
Richardson will again be calling on those youngsters this campaign - Robinson started at Hull City last night, while teenager James Carragher came off the bench.
But he hopes to manage their development properly - particularly as they are now playing in front of some hostile crowds.
He said: “We’ve got a number of young players in and around the squad, and you have to be very careful in that situation.
“We’re asking them to play at places like the Stadium of Light, in front of 40,000 people, and Hillsborough with 30,000 people.
“Expectations in some quarters will be at a certain level, and I think it would be wrong to put too much pressure on those kind of lads. These are young lads who are still learning, and who just want to play football.
“Yes they’ve done great in pre-season, and they’ve supported a group that is relatively short in numbers. But at the same time, we need to be mindful of the criteria we’re asking them to fill over the course of a long season.”
Latics, who beat Hull City 8-7 on penalties in the League Cup last night, are busy making preparations for their first home match of the League One campaign on Saturday.
And having taken 2,000 fans to Sunderland last weekend, they are hopeful of a bumper crowd for the visit of Rotherham.