Wigan Athletic CEO reveals Kolo's primary target

Mal Brannigan has revealed Kolo Toure's primary goal on taking charge at Wigan Athletic.
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"I think the one word here is 'progress'," said the Latics CEO, who watched his side pick up a fine point on their first outing at Millwall last weekend.

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Latics remain in the Championship relegation zone heading into the festive period, but Brannigan is looking at the bigger picture than short-term fixes.

Mal Brannigan says Kolo Toure's primary target is 'progress' at the DW StadiumMal Brannigan says Kolo Toure's primary target is 'progress' at the DW Stadium
Mal Brannigan says Kolo Toure's primary target is 'progress' at the DW Stadium
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"The first step towards that progress is moving ourselves out of the bottom three," he acknowledged.

"At the moment, as has been pointed out, there isn't a tremendous amount of difference between the play-offs and where we find ourselves now.

"There's an awful lot of games still to be played, including hopefully a few games in the cup.

"And we'll know a lot more about where we are, maybe after the games in January.

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"I think we just need to ensure we are first and foremost a Championship club, which will give us a good foundation for next season and beyond, and building beyond that.

Toure was the first choice of Brannigan, chairman Talal Al Hammad and the rest of the board to succeed Leam Richardson, who was sacked last month.

And Brannigan feels the arrival of the Ivory Coast legend - an energetic and enthusiastic character - has already lifted the mood around the club and the town.

"It feels really 'involved' already at the football club, which is reflective of what Wigan is," he said.

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"I think when Talal and I began to look at the candidates, and what we needed, it was somebody who can connect with the town.

"Obviously Leam was always very good at that, and it was so important for us to try to continue with that.

"I think once you start to disconnect from the fanbase and from the town itself, you start to bring additional challenges."

At the same time, Brannigan insists Richardson's legacy at the club will be felt for some time due to his immense contribution.

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As well as pulling off the Great Escape against all the odds in 2020/21 and then delivering the League One title last term, Richardson also saved the life of Charlie Wyke, following the striker's collapse at the training ground 13 months ago.

That led to the South Stand at the DW Stadium being named after him - something Brannigan says will continue to be the case.

"We will always respect the amazing work Leam put into this football club, and you could see how much it meant to him as well as us," he added.

"I don't think any of that work will ever be forgotten in these parts.

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"And the 'Leam Richardson Stand' is going to happen as planned, that won't change.

"People will and should always have fond memories of knowing Leam and working with him, and building that friendship he had with everyone.

"Football is a very close unit, it is built on relationships, and I'm sure the majority of those relationships Leam built here will continue into the future.

"At the same time, I think if you reflect too much on the past, it can take away a lot of what you're trying to do for the future.

"And the focus now has to be very much on moving forward."