Wigan Athletic boss targets double defensive swoop

Paul Cook is waiting to hear whether his bids for two centre-backs have been accepted – deals that would see the Wigan Athletic boss ‘happy’ to attack the rest of the season.

Friday, 25th January 2019, 2:03 pm
Updated Monday, 28th January 2019, 12:03 pm
Paul Cook

Latics have been stretched in the defensive ranks this term, with Dan Burn having been sold to Brighton and on-loan Everton left-back Antonee Robinson being sidelined since November.

With Alex Bruce having been allowed to join Kilmarnock, Cook is well and truly down to the bare bones.

But he says moves are well under way to put that right by next Thursday’s deadline.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“We’ve made two offers for two defensive players who would make us better,” the Latics boss admitted.

“Within that, clubs have the right to say ‘no’, and that’s fair enough. But behind the scenes we’re doing everything we can to actively bring in the correct players who would see us into a position where we’d be happy by the close of the transfer window.

“If we can manage to get those players in by the deadline, then great.

“If we can’t, then we’ve got to believe we’ve done our best – and I do believe that’s what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Reading’s Tyler Blackett and Nottingham Forest’s Danny Fox are confirmed targets, with Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie also on the radar.

Cook is bracing himself for a hectic last week of the window, and explained the situation –in laymen’s terms – why most of the activity usually happens so late.

“If you want to try and explain, let’s say we are looking for a centre-half,” he said.

“We then go and do our recruitment, and let’s say we identify a player at Sunderland.

“Sunderland are at the top of their division and they don’t want to sell, unless you offer the right money.

“Then there’s a domino effect, and so on and so on.

“If something drops where a team pays more money than they’d be expected to, that may start a chain of events where other things then happen.

“As far as we’re concerned, our recruitment team is continually putting lists together, possibilities here and there, what ifs. But our fans will know we haven’t had great numbers in defence for a while, and it will probably be the same again this weekend.”

Cook also mischievously hinted at a sensational late January move...for his trusted lieutenant Gary Roberts!

“If somebody came and offered us £5million for Gary Roberts on Thursday night, Gary would be gone,” Cook laughed.

“I know our fans will be thinking five grand...I’m only kidding, Gary...you know how much I love Gary Roberts!”