Mal confident Wigan Athletic 'will be competitive against everybody'

Mal Brannigan is adamant Wigan Athletic are 'going to be able to compete well against everybody' in the Championship.
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Latics get their campaign under way this weekend against nearest rivals Preston at the DW Stadium.

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A bumper crowd is expected for Leam Richardson's side's return to the second tier, and the Latics CEO is cautiously optimistic for what lies ahead.

Mal BranniganMal Brannigan
Mal Brannigan
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"There's always a buzz before the first game of the season," he said.

"It doesn't matter if you're at home or away, everyone is equal for the time being.

"Do we believe we're going to be able to compete well against Preston? I believe we're going to be able to compete well against everybody.

"And I think that's always something you're going to get from Leam's teams, that desire to compete against anybody and try their hardest."

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Preston sold out the North Stand earlier this week, and Brannigan is looking for a repeat of the opening home game of last term, when Will Keane's stoppage-time winner against Rotherham laid a solid platform for a successful campaign.

"We've got a bumper attendance on the way, and I know Preston will fill their end and make some noise," added Brannigan.

"I also expect our fans to do the same, and I look back to our first home game of last season.

"Obviously the first game was at Sunderland, but the first game here couldn’t have been script-written any better.

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"To get the winning goal just seconds before the end, for Talal and Mr Al Jasmi to be here for the first time, it was such a beautiful day, and everyone went home really happy.

"I don't see why we need to be thinking any differently about this weekend."

Boss Leam Richardson also can’t wait to get cracking.

"Start of the season, first home game, a derby fixture, it's fantastic for the fans,” he said.

"Against a side that's been in this division for a number of years, who have consolidated really well, backed most of the managers they've had to make those steps forward.

"As a newly-promoted team at this level, it's a great challenge in front of us.”

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