Wigan Athletic skipper's festive hope

Tendayi Darikwa has special reason for hoping Wigan Athletic’s festive campaign isn’t totally wiped out – he’s been looking forward to it since last summer!
Tendayi DarikwaTendayi Darikwa
Tendayi Darikwa

And while the Boxing Day trip to Crewe and Wednesday night's visit of Fleetwood fell victim to Covid, Darikwa is desperate the New Year's Day home game against Accrington goes ahead.

“It’s a special time in this country for players and supporters,” he said.

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“It is physically very demanding, but the festive and the New Year’s Day games create such a good atmosphere.

“Hopefully we can keep playing games, with the safety guidelines in place, and fans can continue to enjoy them with us.”

Darikwa has been in the game for well over a decade, but he says the novelty of playing over Christmas hasn’t worn off yet.

“You do look at the festive fixtures when the list comes out – partly because you don’t want to be playing too far away!” he said.

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“I’ve had a couple of shockers over the years, but this time it’s not too bad, we’re mostly at home.”

Latics will be hoping to maintain their promotion push, having quickly gelled as a group following a summer of mass ins and outs.

“I’ve been massively impressed with how the group has settled, although I haven’t been massively surprised,” Darikwa said.

“I’ve got full belief in all the players around me in the dressing room, and the coaching staff behind them.

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“We’re proving to everyone that this club is back on track, although we also know nothing has been achieved yet.

“We’ve still got more than half of the season to go, and we just need to keep picking up the wins and points as we have been doing.

“There is a little bit of a group that is breaking away from the rest, but we need to make sure we remain part of that and put ourselves in a good position.

"It’s such a difficult division to get out of, but we’ll keep doing our best.”

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Darikwa says boss Leam Richardson has played a key role in steering the ship to the automatic promotion places.

“The manager is a great manager to play for,” he added.

“I think everyone inside and outside the club knows just how much he’s given to the job, in such difficult circumstances last season.

“He decided to stay on despite everything, and this year he’s put together a very good squad that’s shown it can compete at the top end of the table.

“He’s a manager you can tell players love playing for.”

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