O’Loughlin and co having a ball

Sean O'Loughlin
Sean O'Loughlin

SEAN O’Loughlin reckons Wigan will reap the rewards of their week-long training camp in America.

The skipper and the bulk of his team-mates trained at their Florida base yesterday as Shaun Wane begins to put his stamp on the side.

Wane – assistant to Michael Maguire for the past two years – will put a greater emphasis on skill and says play-makers will not be shackled by as many structures under his watch.

And O’Loughlin reckons training in the sun-kissed US state – rather than the military camps they have endured for the past two off-seasons – will help them sharpen up on their ball-work.

He said: “When Madge came in, he did the Marine camp to see how mentally tough we are and where we were at. It’s probably what we needed.

“But Waney’s been about, he knows where we stand and we know what he expects, and the America trip is a chance to get some quality training done.

“The last couple of years we’ve been very structured and Waney wants the ball players especially to express themselves a bit more and create opportunities.

“Training in the heat, on a dry track, allows you to do that while also working on our conditioning as well.

“We’ve got a couple of new lads, too, and when you go away you get to know each other better.”

O’Loughlin is recovering from a hip operation but will hopes to begin full training this week, and expects to be fit for the pre-season friendlies next month.

One of those games – against Huddersfield on January 19 – will serve as his testimonial game, and the 29-year-old says he has been “blown away” by the response he’s had.

O’Loughlin’s game will be followed by a Black Tie dinner in Wigan on February 22 with other events pencilled in throughout the year, including a golf day, family day, legends game, pantomime and dinners in London and Manchester.