Wigan Athletic boss on wounded animal challenge ahead
Leam Richardson feels Wigan Athletic will be facing a wounded animal rather than a rudderless ship this weekend at Rotherham.
Latics return from the international break with a trip to the New York Stadium to face a Millers side still searching for a replacement for Paul Warne, who joined League One outfit Derby County last week.
When asked whether Latics' task has been made easier or harder by the managerial change, Richardson replied: "Very much the latter.
"I've been a caretaker manager myself, I've played under a caretaker manager, and it is a situation that can bring people together, and create a real siege mentality.
"In terms of the personality of the Rotherham players or the club, I don't think they have any other identity than what they've always had...working very hard as one in the same cause.
"It's served them well over a number of years and I don't see them turning up on Saturday any different."
Richardson also played a straight bat when asked about Warne's decision – seen as surprising in many quarters – to drop a division to take over at Pride Park.
"Nothing surprises me in football anymore," he said. "Listen the Rotherham fans, staff, players and owners will first of all commend the work Paul's done there, and the joy he's brought to the football club.
"His work has clearly been recognised, and it's nice after giving Rotherham so many good days, and so many promotions.
"What started off as a bit of stand-in has become a very good career for him, so fair play.
"It's sometimes something you really plan for, you've just got to work hard and give the best possible version of yourself.
"And if your vision, your ethic, and your output is a success, then why not?
"I can't comment on the decisions that have been taken at another football club, only to wish him well as he goes into another fantastic football club.”
Warne was headhunted by Derby after guiding Rotherham to their third promotion from League One in five seasons, and steering them into eighth place in the Championship after nine matches.
Indeed, all three promoted sides are in the top half with the first five of the campaign played, which hasn't come as a surprise to the Latics boss.
"Every single team in the Championship brings its own challenges, and I don't think any of the three promoted sides are any different," said Richardson.
"The next block of games - 12 games in 43 days - will bring its own additional challenge, and we have to make sure we're up to that.
"They've started really well themselves, as we know it'll be a tough challenge.
"They've only been beaten once, at Sunderland, we know they don't concede goals in the first half hour of games.
"That's the challenge we face in going there, and we have to make sure our output matches and betters theirs.
"Fingers crossed we can then find a little bit of quality and fall the right side of the result."