Sharpe steps up hunt for firepower

Billy Sharp
Billy Sharp

WIGAN Athletic will this week step up their attempts to bring in the necessary firepower to secure promotion back to the Championship next season.

Chairman David Sharpe admitted over the weekend he is waiting to hear whether his ‘very good’ bids for three strikers have been successful.

One of those is understood to be Leeds United hotshot Billy Sharp, whose future has been the subject of much speculation since the arrival of former Latics chief Uwe Rosler.

The 29-year-old has scored goals wherever he’s been in a career that’s also taken him to Doncaster, Reading, Nottingham Forest, Southampton and Scunthorpe.

He earlier spent two spells with boyhood favourites Sheffield United, and the Blades are also keen to bring him back to Bramall Lane - which could pose the biggest problem to Wigan’s hopes of tying up a deal.

Ironically, if Sharp does elect to return to South Yorkshire, it could pave the way for Latics to land the second striker on their hitlist - United’s Matt Done.

The 27-year-old only joined the Blades five months ago from Rochdale, but bagged seven goals in 12 starts as Nigel Clough’s men reached the play-offs only to fall one hurdle short of Wembley.

That led to Clough being relieved of his duties, and it’s unclear whether Done features in the thinking of new boss Nigel Adkins, who is keen to secure a FOURTH reunion with Sharp after previously working with him at Scunthorpe, Southampton and Reading.

Also on Wigan’s shortlist is Bolton forward Sanmi Odelusi, who looks set to leave the Macron Stadium this summer.

The 22-year-old was shipped out on loan last term to Coventry - where Latics will begin their League One campaign on August 8 - where he impressed with his pace and power.

Latics boss Gary Caldwell also has his eyes on Swindon defender Nathan Byrne, who was named in the League One team of the year last term.

However, they face stiff competition from clubs in the Championship and at least one Premier League side for the 23-year-old wing-back.

The situation regarding two strikers already on Wigan’s books - Spaniard Oriol Riera and Frenchman Andy Delort - should also become much clearer this week.

Both are due back at Christopher Park for pre-season training on Wednesday, with their respective loan deals at Deportivo La Coruna and Tours FC expiring on Tuesday night.

Neither man is believed to fancy a return to England and a new challenge in League One, and would prefer to remain in their homelands.

But having cost a combined figure of £5million last summer - for which they contributed one goal between them - Latics understandably want to recoup as much of their outlay as possible.

Latics also look to have been defeated in their attempts to land Chesterfield’s Sam Clucas, with the Spireites having rejected two offers for the in-demand winger.