Wigan Athletic forward aiming to make 'step' up'
Callum Lang says Wigan Athletic's League One title success goes some way towards making up for the 'frustration' of having Championship football taken away for non-footballing reasons.
The 23-year-old is one of a handful of Latics players who were at the club when it was placed into administration by the former owners.
It's taken two years to right the wrong of July 1, 2020, under a new manager, new ownership group and a largely new playing squad.
And the Academy product has a special reason for being proud at being part of the rebuild.
"Obviously the season we did go down, we put in a very strong performance in the league, before the points deduction," he said.
"The gaffer (Paul Cook) was putting together a very strong Championship team before it was taken away.
"It was obviously frustrating to see that happen, but you can see what a strong team the gaffer (Leam Richardson) has put together in such a short space of time.
"It's such a good squad of players, hopefully we won't have any trouble next year, with a few additions which you always see.
"We know it's a tough league, and we are going to have to be right at it.
"It's going to be a step up from this year, but if we work as hard as we did this year, hopefully there'll be some more joyous days ahead."
Lang's 18 goals and seven assists were a major factor in Latics finishing top of the pile this term.
After loan spells at Morecambe, Oldham, Shrewsbury and Motherwell, he's worked his way into the Championship the hard way.
"To say I'm now a 'Championship footballer', it sounds very nice, very nice indeed," Lang acknowledged.
"Growing up, and going on my loans, I probably wanted to get there a bit quicker than what I have.
"But I wouldn't change this for anything really.
"The way we've done it this year as a team, and me individually, it's a very special feeling.
"I've said it before but it's all been a fairytale really.
"You don't see many teams going into admin, then avoiding getting relegated, and then getting promoted the next year.
"For me to have come through the Academy and been a part of all that, I couldn't have dreamed of it, to be honest."
On the differing emotions between last season's Great Escape and this year's title success, Lang added: "Both were actually very similar feelings to be fair, even though they were at opposite ends of the league.
"You're fighting for different things, but they both ended on a high with a big party!"