Wigan Athletic chief responds to Bolton manager claim

Leam RichardsonLeam Richardson
Leam Richardson
‘We’ll see in May’ – that’s Wigan Athletic boss Leam Richardson’s reaction to the ‘mind games’ emanating from Bolton ahead of this weekend’s big derby.

Bolton boss Ian Evatt kicked off derby week by insisting his side were ‘the best team in the league’, despite their defeat at Sheffield Wednesday leaving them in eighth spot.

That’s four points behind third-placed Latics – who have played two games fewer, and only lost leadership of League One last weekend to Plymouth because of their international ‘break’.

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Richardson, though, refused to add fuel to the fire, deflecting the question by insisting his sole focus remains on his own players and club.

When asked his thoughts on Evatt’s remarks, Richardson replied: “I think you’d have to ask Ian why he’s commenting on that.

“You’d have to ask why he’s saying they’re the best team in the league, because there’s another 20-plus teams in there.

“I think it’s great that he’s got so much confidence in himself and his players. He’s the leader of that team, so he’s got to profess that going forwards.

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“And I think they’ve made some good strides from where they were, having come from a similar place as ourselves, in terms of administration.

“Listening to Ian, he’s obviously happy in himself with that level of performance they’re delivering.

"But listen, leagues are won and lost in May, so wherever teams finish is where they deserve to.

“Come the end of the campaign, we’ll all have finished where we deserve to have finished. Come the end of May, people normally end up where they deserve to end up.

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“Whether you’re first, sixth, 18th or bottom, that’s probably where you deserve to be. Nothing’s won or lost in October, or even in January.

“It’s great to have belief in your own side, but every other team will be working just as hard to achieve their goals.”

Ironically, Evatt played for Richardson and Paul Cook at Chesterfield – alongside Latics skipper Tendayi Darikwa and ex-captain Sam Morsy – between 2013-15.

But Richardson played another textbook straight bat when asked about Evatt the player becoming Evatt the manager.

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“I only worked with Ian as a player, so I can only comment on him as a player, not as a manager,” he said.

“As a player, he was obviously a leader on the pitch with certain qualities – even at the latter end of his career.

“He was fantastic for us, a real leader – one of several leaders in the squad – we had a very good team and we were very successful.

“In terms of the mind games, I think you’d have to ask Ian about that, I’ve not really spoken to him regarding his thoughts.

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“I’ve got enough things to worry about here, our challenges are our challenges, and we’ve got enough work to do.

“You’ve got enough dramas to be worried about come 3pm on Saturday.

“To try and create or invent any more, I don’t see the need.

“You’ve only got so much energy, and you should really be putting as much as possible into the right areas.

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“All my energy will be going into my players, my staff, my football club, to try to win the game on Saturday.”

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