Why Graham Barrow had to be part of the Wigan Athletic rebuild

Shaun Maloney admits it was an absolute no-brainer to enlist the services of Graham Barrow as part of the Wigan Athletic rebuild.
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The pair worked together between 2011-15 during Maloney's playing days with Latics.

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And it no surprise when Maloney picked Barrow - who had been assisting Gary Caldwell at Exeter - to become his No.2 at the DW.

Graham Barrow is back at Wigan AthleticGraham Barrow is back at Wigan Athletic
Graham Barrow is back at Wigan Athletic
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"A lot of the players in the club and the town will know Graham Barrow, and I wanted to bring him back," explained Maloney.

"He's got amazing experience, he was assistant to Roberto (Martinez) in the Premier League, and he's also done most jobs at this club.

"He's got a big heart and a big love for this club, he's got a great eye for recruitment as well as during matches."

Barrow will work alongside Rob Kelly, who remains from the Leam Richardson and Kolo Toure days, with Max Rogers arriving as first-team coach.

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"Max is a young coach from Scotland, who has very similar ideas and philosophies on coaching as myself," explained Maloney.

"They'll work alongside Rob, and I think there's room for bringing one more in, although I'm aware there's a lot of talented people already here and in the Academy."

The return of Maloney and Barrow has seen a remarkable shift in mindset among the fanbase, from seemingly accepting the inevitability of relegation to a real feeling of belief again.

Having experienced - and come through - similar against-the-odds dogfights during his playing days, Maloney knows exactly what is required - on and off the pitch.

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"The fans know what I was like as a player and a person, they know about my values and my behaviour," he said.

They saw that off the pitch as well as on it, I gave absolutely everything for this club every single time I represented them.

"I'm no different as a manager, I'll be giving absolutely everything to help this club improve.

"The fans will know exactly what they're going to get, a team that gives absolutely everything.

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"If we can do that, I know this fanbase will always back their players."

It's Maloney's second full-time gig in management, having had an all-too-brief experience at Hibernian last season.

In keeping with Maloney's glass half-full mindset, he feels he'll benefit from the lessons learned, which have made him a better manager.

"You look back on it now, and it was such a short period of time, but also an amazing period of time at a brilliant club," he added.

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"It was a very difficult period, but these experiences are invaluable.

"I loved working with players, and I loved being manager of a club.

"You can look at these things one of two ways - either as a difficult period where you focus only on the negativity, or you can look at the positives, which I do.

"You have to take the best from what happens and learn from them, and that was a massive learning curve for me as a manager.

"From where I was then to where I am now, I feel I'm a much more rounded manager, even hungrier to succeed."

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