Wigan Athletic chief opens up on recruitment situation and boardroom delay

Shaun Maloney insists the ongoing uncertainty at board level is not having a detrimental effect on Wigan Athletic's fortunes - on or off the field.
Shaun Maloney insists the Latics rebuild was always going to be a long-term projectShaun Maloney insists the Latics rebuild was always going to be a long-term project
Shaun Maloney insists the Latics rebuild was always going to be a long-term project

Having played exactly half of their league programme, Latics - who started the campaign on minus eight points - lie five points clear of the League One drop zone.

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Injuries, illness and unavailability have contributed to a dip in results, with several senior players remaining unavailable for selection.

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Despite the transfer window opening next week, Maloney will again have one hand tied behind his back in terms of strengthening the squad.

With head of first-team recruitment Stephen Gormal relatively new in the job - and an embargo that prevents the club spending money on fees - January is expected to be evolution rather than revolution.

But having juggled the role of recruitment chief with sporting director Gregor Rioch last summer, Maloney admits Latics are still making up ground on the competition, after starting again from scratch.

"It's definitely harder for us, because we've only got Stephen - who's only been in about 12 weeks, and is working without any scouts," said Maloney. "But that's okay, I can't complain, because we are at a stage - and this is probably for the supporters as well - where everything is about the next game.

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"Everything else, off the field, and trying to rebuild the club, and putting in place those structures, takes time. That just means I have to be really efficient with my time - sometimes I get that right and sometimes I don't.

"But we're working really hard to do as much work as we can on the window, without taking away any of my time with the team.

"The hardest thing is trying to be able to do both, because there's only three of us, with Stephen and Gregor...and Gregor's obviously got the whole club to be thinking about, not just recruitment.

"As I say, though, I can't really complain, because the ownership has been incredible, and we've been through so much in such a short space of time.

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"It's just that the last window and the next window are at the very beginning of building a department...and we've had one person in that department for 12 weeks.

"And that's why I have always said staying in this league has always been the priority, because of all the stuff going on both on and off the field."

More than six months after Mike Danson completed his takeover, Latics are still running without a board, with Ben Goodburn continuing to combine the roles of chairman and interim CEO.

Again, though, Maloney is not looking for excuses

"I think we have to be quite patient with this," he said. "In terms of CEO and different areas of the club, like the recruitment department, I just think that's where we're at...it's not easy.

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"The ownership group, they bought the club in the space of a week, or 10 days. So for them to try to go through every single department, and figure out how efficient they are...that would be very time consuming.

"It's important we get the CEO right, and I've got no problem with them taking time. The other departments will be built up over time, but I can't sit here and complain about any aspect of this.

"The ownership has been...look, there's been so many things on and off the pitch going on over the last six months, it was always going to be like this...it was always going to be a long process of rebuilding the club.”

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