Stephen Humphrys wants Wigan Athletic to 'put down a marker'
Stephen Humphrys has called on Wigan Athletic to ‘put down a marker’ when they open the League One campaign at Sunderland this weekend.
The former Rochdale, Scunthorpe, Southend and Shrewsbury forward is one of eight new recruits who have bolstered the squad ahead of the big kick-off.
Latics remain in the hunt for several more, with boss Leam Richardson admitting the group is ‘six or seven’ short of where he’d like it to be.
Nevertheless, Latics have been in imperious form during pre-season, winning all five of their matches.
And Humphrys – who’s been one of the stand-out performers – can’t wait to get going when the action starts for proper at the Stadium of Light.
“We’ve been flying in pre-season, and it’s been a continuation of what we’ve been doing on the training ground in the week,” he said.
“The manager’s really drilled into us what he wants us to do, and thankfully it’s been showing out there on the pitch.
“We managed to put two Championship teams to the sword during the warm-ups, and on both occasions we were the better team.
“The challenge now is for us to take that form into Sunderland this weekend and put down a marker for the season.
“We’re confident we can take on any team in this division. Whether other players will admit it or not, I want to get promoted, that’s the reason I came here.
“To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best, so why not start this weekend against Sunderland?”
Humphrys didn’t take long to get off the mark in a Latics shirt, and he says the bedding-in process has been straightforward.
“It’s been quite easy for me to come in, with so many quality players already here,” he said. “If they can create the chances, I’m paid to finish them and that’s what hopefully I’ll keep on doing.”
He’s also not daunted by the prospect of fighting Charlie Wyke, Callum Lang and Will Keane for a starting spot.
“There’s huge competition for places here, especially in the forward positions,” he acknowledged.
“Where I’ve been previously, we weren’t exactly spoilt for choice.
"But here, everyone’s got to be on it every day in training and in the games, which is only going to push everyone on to greater things.
“The harder and better you train, and the better your performance will be, and that’s what we’re all looking for.”
Humphrys had appeared on the radar of some Championship clubs, but he says there wasn’t much of a decision to make once Latics showed their hand.
“This is a club on the up, and I massively wanted to be part of it,” he added.
“As soon as my agent told me Wigan were interested, I jumped for it, and I’m absolutely buzzing to be here.
“The fans have already been different class with me on social media, I can’t thank them enough for the way they’ve welcomed me.
“Hopefully I can repay them with goals, that’s certainly the aim for me.”
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