Wigan Athletic ahead of schedule but pre-season target remains the same, says Shaun Maloney

Wigan Athletic manager Shaun Maloney has admitted his side are “ahead of schedule” but will not change their ambitions for this season after thrashing local rivals Bolton Wanderers 4-0.
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Stephen Humphrys and Charlie Wyke both scored braces as The Latics ran riot at the League One leaders to start the season with 10 points from four games.

But after starting with an eight points deduction, Wigan are now on plus points for the first time and sit 17th after cancelling out their deficit quicker than expected.

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“I think what was quite hard was the mentality of how to approach it over the summer,” Maloney said. “We gave ourselves six games [to reach plus points], we’re obviously ahead of schedule.

Latics claimed a huge derby victory over BoltonLatics claimed a huge derby victory over Bolton
Latics claimed a huge derby victory over Bolton

“We couldn’t have really thought that we’d have that great of a start. I knew we could, I knew the players that we were bringing in and how we started pre-season I could sense something was happening.

“I’m really impressed with the mentality of the players, but we need to stay pretty humble.”

Amid rising talk of a possible promotion campaign, Maloney has told his side to stick to their original target.

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When asked if a play-off finish is possible after the points deduction, Maloney said “History tells you probably not. I think that’s why we have to think about surviving first.

“We have to just stay in the league, we have to stay humble, we’ve had four games. Our ambition is to stay in this league.

“Get to our points target to stay in the league as quick as we can, as soon as we do that then we can see where the season takes us.”

Wyke, who suffered a cardiac arrest in 2021, has been crucial to Wigan’s form and he scored his fourth goal in as many games which is one fewer than his most prolific campaign for The Latics.

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“It’s a massive bonus to us, every bit of credit goes to Charlie,” Maloney said. “He came back on day one of pre-season in incredible condition - it was like signing a new player.

“All he’s been through is obviously well documented, he continues to put hard work in so everything he gets, every bit of praise, is well deserved."