Wigan Athletic chief hails defensive rocks

Leam Richardson hailed defensive new-boys George Johnston and Corey Whelan after Wigan Athletic's 0-0 home draw against Fleetwood.
Corey Whelan warming up before his Latics debutCorey Whelan warming up before his Latics debut
Corey Whelan warming up before his Latics debut

The duo - both products of the Liverpool Academy - signed on the eve of the game, and only received international clearance just before kick-off.

And they both hit the ground running in their Latics careers, helping the side keep only a fourth clean sheet of the campaign.

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Unfortunately, Latics were unable to create a spark at the other end to force what would have been a massive three points.

But Richardson feels he may well have unearthed a solid platform upon which to build for the rest of the campaign.

"Considering they landed in the country just before the game, and we crammed so much information into them in such a short space of time, they were excellent," he said.

"Even before the game, we were still waiting on clearance for one of them, and you're also trying to prepare for a big game at the same time.

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"I thought they both applied themselves very well, and gave a really good account of themselves.

"They're here to play football, they're here to get educated and to learn, and fingers crossed we can do that."

When asked who was taking the credit for their arrivals - him or Gregor Rioch - a huge smile came across Richardson's face.

"Everything positive at the moment is my doing, so I'll be taking all the credit for them as long as they're doing well!" he laughed.

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"Everything negative is someone else's domain, that's how it works.

"Look, we'll always take the positives out of any game.

"And if you're not going to win, then the next best thing is to make sure you don't lose.

"So that's a positive for us, but I also thought we got into some good areas, and the energy and application was again top class."

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Latics' best chance fell to their third debutant, Zach Clough, who has joined from Nottingham Forest for the rest of the season.

But the former Bolton man has only made 23 starts in the four years since leaving Bolton, and showed signs of ring-rust when he dragged a wonderful chance wide of the goal from bang in front.

"The main thing I suppose is that the lads are in the position to have those kinds of chances," added Richardson.

"Whatever happens after that is secondary - whether they score or they miss - because we want him in those areas to have the opportunity.

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"He's putting himself in areas where he can affect the game, and that's what he's in there for.

"I'm sure he'll get goals for us while he's here, no question about that."

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