Wigan Athletic chief closing in on new blood

Leam Richardson is targeting more than one new signing for Wigan Athletic before the transfer window slams shut on Monday night.

Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 3:40 pm
Funso Ojo

The acting manager has already brought in Tendayi Darikwa, Zach Clough, George Johnston and Corey Whelan this month, with Callum Lang returning from a loan spell at Motherwell.

But that’s only partly plugged the gaps vacated by loan men Curtis Tilt (Rotherham), Matty Palmer (Swindon), Darnell Johnson (Leicester) and Tom James (Hibernian) returning to their parent clubs, while Joe Garner and Kal Naismith have left by mutual consent.

Youngsters Patrick Webber, Joe Piggott and Charlie Jolley have also been allowed to leave to free up places in the 23-man squad – with one spot currently available.

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Former PSV Eindhoven and Belgium Under-21 midfielder Funso Ojo is understood to be close to joining Latics from Aberdeen to firm up the engine room for the rest of the season.

And Richardson is keeping his eyes out for further possibilities – which would involve having to say goodbye to another member of his first-team pool.

“Fingers crossed we can add a few bodies to the group, and that’s very important – not least to help the bodies we already have here,” he said.

“Obviously we still have those restrictions in terms of squad numbers and administration, but we’d just like to add that little bit of competition for places, which is always healthy.

“With all due respect, a lot of the good work we did before Christmas we kind of lost because quite a few of the lads have moved on.

“This is still a relatively new group, and it will take time to get to where we’d like to be.

“We know the odds are stacked against us, they have been for months on end now.

“But that won’t lead to us shying away from the task in front of us.”

Richardson has previously bemoaned the recruitment situation during administration, which he’s likened to going into battle with both arms tied behind his back.

“It’s a daily challenge, we’re still finding out on a daily basis things we’re allowed to do and things we aren’t,” he added.

“The administrators are doing their best with certain things, constantly in touch with the EFL, and the coaching staff here are also doing everything they can, as are the players.

“The easiest thing to do is to kind of hide under tables, and allow the situation to consume you.

“The hardest thing to do is stand up and fight – individually and collectively.

“That’s what we’ve been doing for the last few months, and that’s what we’ll continue to do over the coming months.”

The transfer deadline is 11pm on Monday, February 1.

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