Wigan Athletic new-boys will have to wait for debuts

Paul Cook has revealed he’ll be ‘phasing in’ his three January arrivals as a result of Wigan Athletic’s recent upturn in results.

Latics three new signings  Jan Mlakar, Alex Dobre and Leon Balogun  training at Euxton this week
Latics three new signings Jan Mlakar, Alex Dobre and Leon Balogun training at Euxton this week

Brighton defender Leon Balogun and forward Jan Mlakar, as well as Bournemouth striker Alex Dobre, joined Latics just before last Friday’s transfer deadline.

All three will add something to the squad for the run-in, but the Latics manager says two wins on the bounce has lessened the need to throw them straight in.

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“I think we’ll be looking at phasing them in over the next few weeks,” he told the Wigan Post.

“With the team having two strong results on the bounce, the necessity to get players into the team’s been put on a bit of a backburner.

“I certainly think the lads who’ve performed well latterly deserve the chance to stay in the side.”

It’s been all smiles at Euxton, with a return of six points from two big games against Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds, three new signings AND the Under-18s winning through to the last eight of the FA Youth Cup – and the small matter of a quarter-final tie at Manchester United.

“It’s been a great week for us all,” acknowledged Cook.

“I have to say I think the general atmosphere around the training ground has been great all season, not just this last week.

“Some of the performances we’ve had of late and not won were a worry, because you’re doing everything you can and it’s still not working.

“But the morale around the place, the enthusiasm among the players, has never been in doubt.

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“We’ve had a great week, though, beating Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds, and it gives us a platform to go on for the rest of the season.

“I can’t say it’s been no different this week, because you’d probably be lying.

“But the reality for me as a manager, my job, is to try and keep everyone grounded as much as possible – through good times and bad.

“It’s a long race, and a tough season, and regardless if what happens against Preston we’re in again on Monday ready to go for Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.

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“My biggest disappointment this season has been the occasions where we just haven’t taken the points we’ve deserved to.

“If we’d have managed to do that, we wouldn’t be in any trouble whatsoever.

“The reality is the league table at the end of the season doesn’t lie, and we’ve got a lot of points to play for between now and May.”