'Thankless task' for Wigan Athletic chief

Leam Richardson admits it’s a ‘thankless task’ having to play three games a week during such tortuous off-field times for Wigan Athletic.
Leam RichardsonLeam Richardson
Leam Richardson

But ahead of Tuesday night’s visit of north-west neighbours Blackpool, the Latics acting manager says it’s just a case of getting on with the job.

“Sadly sometimes the fact you do have a game to play does take something of a back seat with everything else that’s going on,” Richardson told the Wigan Post.

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“But we are working as hard as we can in that department, through the analysts and the rest of the staff, to make sure we’re as prepared as we can be for every game.

“It’s a thankless task at the moment, with the fixture list as it is.

“Even more so, running with such a small squad, with all the other restraints on us...including Covid.

“To be fair, I don’t think we’ve made too many excuses this season despite everything that’s been going on.

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“We’ve just tried to keep our heads down and work as hard as we can to try and produce performances that the fans can be happy and proud with.”

Wigan’s preparations for the game have been further affected by continued transfer talk surrounding prize assets Kyle Joseph and Tom Pearce.

Left-back Pearce was the subject of a loan enquiry from Championship outfit Bristol City, which was rejected out of hand.

And centre-forward Joseph continues to be chased by second-tier side Barnsley, who have yet to offer anywhere resembling a fee that would bring Latics to the table.

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Despite the speculation, Richardson says he’s not surprised rival clubs are casting admiring glances over his players.

“It’s a pat on the back for everyone here that our players are still attracting attention from elsewhere, even with everything that’s going on,” he said.

“That’s happening purely for one reason – that they’re doing the right thing on the field.

“It’s not because they’ve downed tools, and allowed the situation here to consume them.

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“They’re rolling up their sleeves, and they’re giving it everything they’ve got within the role each of them has got.

“I personally take it as a positive we have players who other clubs would like to have in their sides.”

Tuesday night’s game is still not 100 per cent confirmed to be going ahead, with opponents Blackpool waiting for the results of Covid tests after a recent outbreak.

The Seasiders returned five positive tests on Friday following the club’s latest round of mandatory testing, which involved 37 players and staff.

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And the EFL on Monday night informed Blackpool they’re happy for the game at the DW Stadium to go ahead – as long as the round of tests come back negative.

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