Wigan Athletic boss welcomes break and provides injury update
Wigan Athletic boss Leam Richardson wants his players to make the most of this ‘blank’ weekend – before the campaign ramps up into the festive period.
With this weekend’s league fixture at Morecambe having been postponed due to international commitments, Latics have their final chance to draw breath before a gruelling slog that will take them well into 2022.
Having just come off a similarly schedule that saw several key players fall foul of injury, Richardson is happy to draw breath.
“With the injuries and the number of games we’ve just played...nine games in the space of 29 days would be a tough task for anyone,” he said.
“We have picked up a few bumps and bruises, and this weekend will be a welcome chance to just rest a few bodies that have been pushed to the limit.”
Richardson was unable to provide a positive update on central defensive trio Jack Whatmough, Kell Watts and Curtis Tilt, who all pulled up lame last week.
“They’re all still struggling at the minute,” reported the manager. “It’s a daily thing, and whether any of them will make the next game, who knows?
“From having four fit senior centre-backs, we suddenly have one, and Jason Kerr wanted to play against Shrewsbury (on Tuesday), but we couldn’t let him take the chance.”
Richardson hopes to have midfielders Jordan Cousins and Tom Naylor back soon.
“Although they’re making really good progress, it remains a frustrating wait,” he said. “It’s certainly not for the want of trying, hopefully in the next...coming weeks I’d say.”
Latics could have have done without the added hassle of an FA Cup first-round replay at Solihull next Tuesday.
Richardson, though, admits his player pool has been extended following a sparkling performance from several Academy products in the midweek Papa John’s Trophy win over Shrewsbury.
“I always tell the players, in games like that, you’re not guaranteed to get into the team based on what you do. But you’re absolutely guaranteed to not get into the team if you don’t perform, or give your all.
“Some of the lads who featured have given themselves a massive opportunity now.”
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