Wigan Athletic's Chey Dunkley won't flunk leadership role
This time last season, Chey Dunkley was the new-boy desperately trying to learn the ropes at Wigan Athletic.
For last Saturday’s Championship opener against Sheffield Wednesday, he’d quickly been promoted to head boy, the only member of the Latics back four not making his debut!
While Reece James, Antonee Robinson and Cedric Kipre were finding their feet, Dunkley was putting in the kind of assured display at the heart of the defence that’s become his trademark.
And the softly spoken, but hugely imposing, 26-year-old admits he’s relishing his newly-handed responsibility.
“It’s what I try and do, organise around me, so nothing changed for me in that respect,” he told the Wigan Post.
“It was probably harder for them to come in to the situation.
“They don’t know the system off by heart like I do, having been here for 12 months.
“I know how the gaffer likes to play, and the ideas he’s trying to get across.
“Obviously there was Christian (Walton) behind us as well, which helped.
“It’s not just me, it’s him talking behind us, and obviously Sammy (Morsy) in front pulling the strings.”
Having been the new-boy 12 months ago, Dunkley was quick to acknowledged how well the trio did on debut.
“I thought the boys who came in did really well, did themselves a lot of credit,” he enthused.
“The big lad alongside me (Kipre) only had one training session before so credit to him for the way he played.
“He’s a great addition to the squad, and it’s so important to have that strength in depth going into a league like the Championship.
“We’ve got the core of the squad from last season, but the additions that have come in will only make us stronger.”
After getting off to a flyer with a deserved three points, next up for Latics is a trip to Villa Park for another clash against one of the big guns of a division that’s already been labelled a ‘Premier League 2’.
“There’s probably 10-15 teams who are in with a real chance of winning promotion to the Premier League, and the other teams have everything to fight for as well,” recognised Dunkley.
“We all pulled together at the weekend and hopefully we can build on that.
“We’ve set ourselves up well for Villa by having three points on the board.
“We’ll go there to enjoy it and we can’t lose sight of that, even we know the pressure will be on.”
Latics were occupying one of the promotion places when the first fledgling league table was shown on Saturday night.
Not that the big defender is in any danger of getting carried away.
“Ha I’m not even looking at the league table, even though we’ll be high up,” he added.
“It doesn’t start to mean anything until five, 10 games...then you’ll get an idea of where you are and the objectives will be.”