Talal backs Kolo to boost Wigan Athletic - on and off the field

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Talal Al Hammad is confident Wigan Athletic's new boss Kolo Toure will transform the club both on and off the field.

Toure will take charge of his first game at Millwall on Saturday, having been officially confirmed as Leam Richardson 's successor last week.

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After joining up with the squad for the second half of their warm-weather training camp in Turkey, Toure has been putting the players through their paces at Christopher Park ahead of the return of the Championship following the World Cup break.

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Kolo Toure (centre|) with support team Ashvir Johal (left) and Kevin Betsy (right)Kolo Toure (centre|) with support team Ashvir Johal (left) and Kevin Betsy (right)
Kolo Toure (centre|) with support team Ashvir Johal (left) and Kevin Betsy (right)

For the chairman, the past month has been difficult but necessary, to ensure an upturn in fortunes after a return of only four points from the last 10 matches prior to Richardson's sacking.

"It's been a very tough decision, for me personally and for the board," he said.

“But I am delighted we have managed to get Kolo to come to Wigan.

"It was a long process, but we were determined to make sure we had the right man for this stage.

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"To bring something new to the club, a new philosophy, and to provide modern football.

"It's been a very difficult period, over the last 10 games or so.

"Something was missing, in this league you need to play modern football and hopefully Kolo will help us to find it.

"I'm sure Kolo will change the mentality and the style of play."

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Toure made his mark during his playing career as an Arsenal 'Invincible' from the 2003/04 campaign.

He also played for Manchester City, Liverpool and Celtic.

The 41-year-old won 120 caps for the Ivory Coast, and becomes the first African coach to become manager of an EFL club.

His first task will be to lift out of the Championship relegation zone.

But given the tight nature of the Championship, the Latics chairman doesn't feel that should be the only aim this term.

"Staying up is obviously the first target," he added.

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"But it's also only eight points to the top six, and it's a very tight league, and we are Wigan Athletic and we must always aim high."

Toure will be joined at Wigan by Kevin Betsy and Ashvir Johal.

Betsy has coached England at youth level, as well as Arsenal Under-23s and Crawley Town.

Johal became the youngest Sikh professional football coach during his time at Leicester.