Wigan Athletic falls foul of squad 'limit'
Youngster Patrick Webber found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time - the latest victim of Latics’ catalogue of misfortune since being placed into administration.
The 21-year-old centre-half or left-back has spent the last 18 months with the Development Squad, after joining from Ipswich in the summer of 2019.
He was named in Latics’ 23-man squad in September, on account of having tasted 90 minutes of first-team football during his Ipswich days, an EFL Cup defeat at Crystal Palace in August 2017.
His only appearance this term came in the Papa John’s Trophy tie at Tranmere in November.
But with Leam Richardson desperate to add experienced reinforcements to his backline – but hampered by limits on his numbers – the decision was reluctantly taken to part company by mutual consent.
“Thoroughly enjoyed my time at what is a fantastic club with some fantastic people,” tweeted Webber, who contributed to the ‘Save the Club’ Crowdfunder last year.
“The togetherness shown by the squad, staff and fans is unbelievable. Thank you for the opportunity and I wish everyone all the best for the future. Up the Tics.”
The squad, which was full on Saturday night, is now two bodies light, with Tom James’ loan from Hibernian having ended on Sunday.
Latics remained hopeful of agreeing an extension for the rest of the campaign, but he has elected to sign for League Two outfit Salford City.
Viv Solomon-Otabor could also come back into the equation, when he returns from long-term injury.
The winger was a regular starter until he damaged his ankle during the draw with Plymouth on October 24.
His short-term contract expired at the beginning of the month, but Latics would be open to the possibility of securing him to another similar deal – should there be room to accommodate him.
Latics have already seen loan men Curtis Tilt (Rotherham), Darnell Johnson (Leicester) and Matty Palmer (Swindon) return to their parent clubs, with Joe Garner and Kal Naismith having been released from their contracts to cut costs further.
But that doesn’t give them any more scope for bringing in players, with Kyle Joseph, Thelo Aasgaard, Harry McHugh and Luke Robinson having made their debuts since September – and now counting as ‘first-team’ players.
That’s in addition to the arrivals this month of Tendayi Darikwa, from Nottingham Forest, and Callum Lang, who’s been recalled from his loan spell at Motherwell.
The delicate situation was underlined at the weekend when Latics named only four substitutes – and no back-up goalkeeper – at Rochdale.
They could have filled the bench with youngsters from the Academy but, had they come on the field, they would immediately count as members of the squad – which would have further tightened the straitjacket currently being worn by boss Richardson.
Once the squad lists are resubmitted at the end of this window, clubs can then field as many Under-21 players as they like.
Latics squad as of 18/1/21 (21 members): Jamie Jones, Owen Evans, Tendayi Darikwa, Adam Long, Emeka Obi, Tom Pearce, Luke Robinson, Alex Perry, Chris Merrie, Dan Gardner, Lee Evans, Gavin Massey, Harry McHugh, Divin Baningime, Ollie Crankshaw, Thelo Aasgaard, Will Keane, Kyle Joseph, Callum Lang, Joe Piggott, Charlie Jolley.
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