Wigan Athletic old-boys make Championship moves

Reece James during his Latics daysReece James during his Latics days
Reece James during his Latics days
Former Wigan Athletic defender Reece James - the 'other' one - has joined Championship new-boys Blackpool from Doncaster.

The 27-year-old, who twice won promotion to the second tier with Latics during his three-year stay at the DW - has penned a three-year contract with the Seasiders.

"As soon as I knew there was a bit of interest, it was something that I really wanted to follow up and jump at," he said.

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"Playing in the Championship was something that I’d set out to do following what had happened in the season, so it was a massive pull to come here and play in the Championship.

“In the two games that I played against Blackpool, I knew exactly what they were like.

"They were organised, defensively solid, very good on the ball and obviously very lethal in the attacking third.

"Even from the games that I’ve watched from afar, with the play-offs and the play-off final, it was something that I really wanted to be a part of.”

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Blackpool boss Neil Critchley was delighted to confirm James as the club's first summer signing.

“Reece arrives here with good, Championship experience and on the back of a fantastic couple of seasons with Doncaster Rovers," he said.

"He’s somebody that I’ve always been impressed with, going back to his time with Manchester United when he was younger.

“From my conversations with him, I know how much of a top professional he is.

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"He’ll bring good experience to the group and can play in a number of different positions, which will be invaluable to us.

“I’d like to welcome him to Blackpool and look forward to seeing him pull on a tangerine shirt.”

Meanwhile, fellow Latics old-boy Devante Cole has joined Barnsley from Motherwell.

The 26-year-old striker - who made seven appearances, all off the bench, during an unsuccessful two -year stint with Latics, before moving to Doncaster in January 2020 - was also a free agent.

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Cole - who ironically played alongside James at Doncaster - scored 12 goals in 31 appearances for Motherwell last term, but turned down a new contract to return to England.

"Devante Cole has signed for Barnsley," read Motherwell statement.

"The forward, who was offered new terms to extend his stay at Fir Park, has instead taken up the offer to join the English Championship side.

"Cole’s second spell with Motherwell saw him finish as top scorer in the 2020/21 season, netting 12 goals in 31 appearances.

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"His first stint – a loan spell from Wigan Athletic in early 2019/20 – brought a further four goals from 21 matches.

"Cole now heads to Barnsley who were in Premier League promotion contention last campaign.

"A fifth-place finish put them in the play-offs, where they lost to Swansea City in the semi-finals.

"We thank Devante for all his contributions at Motherwell and wish him the very best for the future."

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