Wigan Athletic's secret behind Treasure Island push!
Wigan Athletic’s players have come up with their own novel way of ensuring they reach ‘Treasure Island’ at the end of the season.
Table tennis competitions are just one of the ways the players are bonding off the field, as the continue to make huge strides on the field towards a return to the Championship.
To raise the stakes, the ‘loser’ has to spin the wheel, which could lead to a number of possible forfeits – including coming to training in fancy dress.
Which explained Tendayi Darikwa’s appearance at Christopher Park yesterday in full pirate gear!
“We’ve had a couple of wacky and wonderful guests at training over the last few weeks, and it was a pirate on Thursday,” chuckled boss Leam Richardson, who steered the good ship Latics through the choppiest waters imaginable last term towards the harbour of refuge.
“Look, it’s something the lads have introduced to the dressing room, and that’s their place, their inner sanctum, that they run.
“There’s certain things going on in there that will remain private, but it’s all in good spirit and on top of the hard work they’re already doing.
“That’s their downtime after training, and I encourage lads to be in and around the training ground for as long as possible.
“They have their own space, their own room where they can socialise with each other, and play table tennis and so forth.
“That brings its own competition, and if you don’t win, you sometimes have to pay the price!”
So who’s the shark in the dressing room?
“I’ve been told Jamie Jones is the one to watch, he’s the man to beat,” revealed Richardson.
“He plays golf off scratch, he could play for most countries at table tennis, and we’ve seen this year he’s a dab hand at taking penalties as well as saving them – so he’s a bit of a ‘Sport Billy’!”
All fun and games, of course, and hopefully something that will help Latics plain sail towards the Promised Land – of promotion.
“Team spirit is everything for me,” added Richardson.
“I’ve always been brought up that way, working with some fantastic managers and coaches.
“As long as the hard work comes first and foremost, I’m a big believer in team spirit being just as important.
“Morale in the dressing room has to come from the players, guided by the management and the staff.
“Throughout the course of a season, team spirit can get you two, three, four, five, maybe six points.
“And they may be the ones who in the end might get you out of trouble, or get you over the line at the other end.
“Thankfully I’ve experienced that a few times in the past, and hopefully it’s the same again this season.”
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