Lee Evans is adamant Wigan Athletic can hold their own against this weekend’s visitors Nottingham Forest and the rest of the Championship big guns.
The Wales international midfielder spent the first half of last term on loan with Latics before being recalled by Wolves and sold on to Sheffield, with whom he spent the second half of the campaign.
And having jumped at the chance to rejoin Latics last week on loan with a view to a permanent move, he says the quality at the DW Stadium means they won’t have any trouble making its presence felt.
“I think we’ve definitely got the tools to be able to hold our own in the Championship,” Evans told the Wigan Post.
“From watching from the bench at Aston Villa last weekendy and then coming on in the second half, I can see the quality we have.
“Obviously we need to improve in certain areas, but with the quality we have here we can give anyone in this division a game.
“Beating Sheffield Wednesday and then pushing Aston Villa all the way sets us up well for a good season.
Evans admits there is a gap between the second and third tiers, but says the League One title winners have it in them to bridge the gap.
“It’s everything, it’s just a step up, the quality’s that little bit more,” he acknowledged.
“You don’t get away with some of the stuff you do in League One.
“Every little mistake gets punished, and that’s unfortunately what happened on Saturday.
“But we showed against Sheffield United last year what a newly-promoted side can do, and get a high finish, so that should spur us on.”
Evans’ decision to leave Sheffield United after only seven months surprised many in the game, particularly given how well he settled in to life at Bramall Lane.
But he says the way his first spell with Latics came to an abrupt halt – he was due to play in an FA Cup third-round tie in January before being pulled out by his parent club – meant he had unfinished business in the north west.
“It was tough for me, because I’d travelled down to Bournemouth with the rest of the squad, and I was looking forward to the game,” he revealed.
“We then heard Sheffield United had put in a bid, Wolves had accepted it, and that was that.
“With Wigan being in a bit of limbo at the time because of the takeover, there was nothing much anyone could do.
“Wigan weren’t in a position to be putting in a bid themselves, and that’s how it came about.
“But I kept in touch with everyone here and was made up when they went on to win the League One title at the end of the season.
“I was a big part of what happened in the first half of the season, and that was another disappointment about leaving.
“I wanted to be part of it towards the end of the season, when everything gets decided in terms of silverware.
“Obviously I knew everything was in place, and we would be in the fight for the League One title.
“I’m still waiting for my medal to be fair – Leam (Richardson) says it’s coming...I think that was part of the bargaining in getting me here!”