Wigan Athletic boss reacts to Bamber Bridge victory - and Charlie Wyke return
Leam Richardson hailed the attitude and application of his players after they opened their pre-season campaign with a 5-1 win at Bamber Bridge.
Just 66 days after picking up the League One title at Shrewsbury, Latics were back in action at the picturesque Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
Goals from Callum Lang (2), Tom Pearce, Josh Magennis and Scott Smith gave the visitors a comfortable victory.
And the sight of Charlie Wyke in the starting line-up - eight months after suffering a cardiac arrest at the training ground - put the icing on the cake.
"It comes around quickly, doesn't it?" acknowledged Richardson.
"But from where we're at, two weeks after coming back, the application and attitude of the players - which is what you look for in games like this - I thought was excellent.
“We trained this afternoon and covered five or six kilometres ourselves and then came into the game.
"You have to do that to get that base of fitness and the recoveries into the lads to repeat their actions.
“It was great to come to Bamber Bridge and be able to offer something back from a club like ours and to try and fill their stadium and get their pre-season up and running.
"The pitch was top class and the attitude from both sets of players, fans and staff were really good.”
Wyke played the first half before a completely different XI came out for the second period.
"He's ticked every box, his fitness levels are very good, and it was fantastic to see him out there again," said Richardson.
"If anyone was going to put on a shirt and get back out there, it was going to be Charlie."
The Latics boss was also pleased with the efforts of youngsters Chris Sze, James Carragher, Luke Robinson and Charlie Hughes.
"It's pre-season, and these lads are starting out on their journey," he added.
"They've got a long way to go and a lot to learn, because we're going up into an elite-level league.
"The depth of our squad will be important and, for now, those young lads are stepping up and showing what they can do."