More success for burgeoning Wigan Athletic Academy

The Latics Under-18 side celebrate thrashing Birmingham  in the FA Youth CupThe Latics Under-18 side celebrate thrashing Birmingham  in the FA Youth Cup
The Latics Under-18 side celebrate thrashing Birmingham in the FA Youth Cup
Academy chief Gregor Rioch insists the future of Wigan Athletic remains bright after the club's Under-18s were crowned league champions via points per game.

Peter Murphy's side were a whopping 15 points clear at the top before the Under-18 Professional Development League North was suspended in March, with 18 wins from their 24 games and 65 goals scored.

And their success was ratified following a Premier League vote this week.

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The lads also reached the quarter-final of the FA Youth Cup for the first time, going down to a narrow 2-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

And with the Under-23s finishing a very creditable fourth in the Under-23 Professional Development League North, it represents an overwhelmingly successful first campaign as a Category Two club.

“We are immensely proud of the players and staff for an incredible first season at Category Two level,” Rioch acknowledged.

“This season we have been challenged by some fantastic academy teams from some of the biggest clubs in English football, and the best compliment I can pay the players is that they’ve made everybody stand up and consider Wigan Athletic as one of the most exciting groups of players in the country.

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“The success on the pitch is supported from lots of hard work and dedication from many people across the academy, and I would like to thank all of the staff for their dedication.”

“We have had a number of Under-18 players supplement the Under-23 squad, while players have also come down from the first team to play as well.

"We also had a Under-16 player feature for the Under-23s so they’re great signs of progression for us.

"Of course some of our Under-23 players also had successful loan spells at senior level during the course of the season too.

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“I would once again like to place on record my thanks to all of the players at the academy and to their families for their continued support through challenging times.

"This season has been a great benchmark for our future academy age groups to strive for when competing at this level.”