Wigan Athletic hit brick wall in attempts to play 'catch-up' matches

Leam Richardson has spoken of his frustration that Wigan Athletic have been thwarted in their attempts to squeeze one of their catch-up fixtures into next week's schedule.
Leam RichardsonLeam Richardson
Leam Richardson

Latics' trip to Doncaster next Saturday, January 15 is the first of 25 league games to be crammed into only 105 days before the end of the campaign on April 30.

Progression in the Papa John's Trophy this week has added another fixture to the daunting schedule, which will be added to again if Latics overcome Blackburn in the FA Cup this weekend.

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With international breaks potentially back in March, Richardson was hoping to squeeze in a fixture next Tuesday - one of only four remaining free 'midweeks' - to ease the bottleneck.

But he says their pleas to the governing body have been in vain.

"I've been on to the EFL for the last 10-14 days to get some help, to try to get a fixture this coming Tuesday," he said.

"We've asked numerous times whether they could sort out a fixture for us, we're available to play, and we need help to do that.

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"For some reason - the reason for which we've not been given yet - we've not been able to get that, which is very disappointing.

"Listen, I know the EFL have a tough job to do, they have to accommodate 92 clubs, not just one.

"But when it's your turn to ask for help, you just hope they're doing their best to do so."

Latics saw their three festive fixtures - against Crewe, Fleetwood and Accrington - all postponed due to Covid, while Saturday's scheduled trip to Portsmouth fell foul to their FA Cup run.

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Wigan Today understands Fleetwood and Accrington were both sounded out about playing on Tuesday, but it appears the response was not what was hoped for.

"There were teams available to play, who had cancelled games...you can see yourself the teams we need to play," said Richardson.

"For some reason, they're unable to fulfil the fixture, and obviously accommodate us.

"I'm sure they'll have their reasons, why certain other clubs couldn't fulfil the fixture - even without Covid.

"Whether it's other matters, I'm not so sure.

"But it doesn't look like we'll be able to arrange one."

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Richardson says the situation is particularly galling given the fact Latics were forced to play through last season in identical circumstances.

"It's just disappointing that last season, when we were in administration, with a young squad with very, very minimal numbers, we always had to play our cancelled games on the next available date," he added.

"We were told that had to be the case on numerous occasions.

"This time, things seem to have changed slightly, which is very frustrating."

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