Post-match reaction: Wigan Athletic chief chuffed with performance and debuts

Leam Richardson watched Wigan Athletic have the better of a 1-1 draw at Birmingham - and then revealed the players had been told 'in no uncertain terms' to finish the season on a high rather than end on a whimper.

Saturday, 27th April 2019, 6:17 pm
Updated Sunday, 28th April 2019, 12:04 pm
Joe Gelhardt

And the way they played against Garry Monk's side, who led inside two minutes through Lukas Jutkiewicz but barely had another effort on goal, bore testament to that determination.

Latics responded from the early setback to dominate their hosts, with Nick Powell equalising on the stroke of half-time from 25 yards.

Joe Garner came close on a number of occasions, while Latics also appeared to be denied a couple of decent penalty shouts by the official.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Nevertheless, Richardson - sent out for media duties in the absence of Paul Cook, who'd lost his voice - was happy with the performance to end the away campaign on a high.

"This is a tough place to come and we're pleased to finish the away form with a positive result," said the Latics assistant boss.

"There was no chance of us not taking the game seriously with the manager here.

"He made his feelings very clear to the group and the staff that he wanted to finish the season strongly.

"The lads were told in no uncertain terms we want to finish as high as we can, and this was another good point.

"We could have had a couple of penalties on another day - that was the most disappointing aspect of the day.

"I think when the officials look back on the decisions they'll be disappointed with the decisions they've made.

"These things are supposed to balance themselves out over the season, but I don't think they have for us this year."

The travelling Latics fans were also treated to a glimpse into the future of the club, with 16-year-old Joe Gelhardt and 17-year-old Jensen Weir making their league debuts in the second half.

"The lads have been doing ever so well, representing their country at their age group, and the manager saw it fit to get them involved," acknowledged Richardson.

"It's great to see young lads get their chance and it'll be interesting to see how their careers progress.

"When any young player comes into the first-team group it's hard to keep them on that pathway.

"If the lads continue their improvement they'll have a chance of having big careers, which we obviously hope will be the case.

"The next step is to get them fitter, stronger, bigger to equip them for regular senior football."

While Gelhardt came on at the break, Weir appeared in the closing stages for Nick Powell, who didn't appear to take too kindly to his substitution.

"Nick's not pleased if he plays, doesn't play, comes off, stays on - that's just Nick!" laughed Richardson.

"He loves footy, and that's what you want from him and all of the other players...it shows their commitment to the cause."