Wigan Athletic chief on January exit rumours

Leam Richardson refuses to worry about the prospect of Wigan Athletic losing more players this month - because it's totally beyond his control.

Monday, 18th January 2021, 11:42 am
Updated Monday, 18th January 2021, 2:51 pm
Tom Pearce

The 41-year-old has seen almost all of the club's senior players, as well as most of the backroom staff, depart since the club was placed into administration last July.

He stayed put 'to try to restore some sanity to the situation', but it has been a tough task, swimming against the tide for much of the campaign.

With the squad already stretched, Richardson could have done without the January rumour mill linking striker Kyle Joseph and left-back Tom Pearce with moves elsewhere.

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But Wigan's acting manager is determined to remain as pragmatic as possible - despite the worrying consequences.

"I've said it before, but there's just no point whatsoever worrying about things that are beyond your control," he told Wigan Today.

"The reason these lads are getting mentioned is because they are doing something well on the field.

"I've had my own chats with them privately, and that will stay private.

"But things like this will come around again and again throughout a career.

"If they keep being successful on the field, everything else will fall into place.

"We're in no rush to make rash decisions at this stage.

"They're not senior players, they're still young lads who are forging their careers.

"They're still learning their craft, they still have a lot to learn, and we are keeping them on the straight and narrow here.

"Wigan at the minute - albeit in administration - is still a great place to learn their trade by playing regularly.

"And the reason other clubs have them on the radar is because they are playing regularly and enjoying their football."

It's been a decent enough week for Latics on the 'incoming' front, with Tendayi Darikwa joining from Nottingham Forest, Dan Gardner extending his short-term deal and Thelo Aasgaard signing his first pro contract.

And Will Keane yesterday agreed to stay on for the rest of the campaign, despite his initial short-term deal ending last weekend.

And Richardson says that's a massive vote of confidence in the club and its fighting spirit.

"Will's an absolute top lad to work with and he brings that extra bit of quality to a young group," Richardson recognised.

"We've seen what Will can do and, if he can stay on the pitch, he's capable of some good numbers for the rest of the season.

"It's no secret where we're at, with such a young group.

"And if we can add the experience of someone like Will Keane, everyone in the group will benefit from it.

"Obviously with the takeover situation being what it is, there's a lot of players and staff who've had to rethink what their futures might be.

"A few of the loans have gone back, and a few of the short-term contracts are still up in the air a little bit.

"These lads will all have options elsewhere, so far play to Will for extending his deal with us.

"But within that he'll also want to get his head down and give it a go to help us for the rest of the season."

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