Callum McManaman could make his second debut for the club against one of his former sides tomorrow as Sheffield Wednesday visit The DW Stadium for the start of the new Championship season.
After missing out on promotion in the playoff final two seasons ago, The Owls struggled last year and were far too close to the relegation places for their liking especially with near City neighbours Sheff Utd finishing five places and twelve points ahead of them. Expectations are equally as low around Hillsborough this season so this may not be the tough start to the season for The Latics that it appears to be on paper.
Paul Cook has added eight players to his squad including McManaman and luckily so far has yet to lose any players of note. Nick Powell is rumoured to be a target for Aston Villa, as is Dan Burn, but having turned down Brighton on January deadline day Powell may be tempted to stay again which will be key to how our season pans out.
Christian Walton (loan – Brighton), Reece James (loan – Chelsea), Kal Naismith (Porstmouth), Leo Lopes (Peterborough), Antonee Robinson (loan – Everton), Cedric Kipie (Motherwell) and Darron Gibson (Sunderland) have joined Callum McManaman at the club with James, Gibson, Robinson and Kipie all expected to make their debuts tomorrow. As the Chelsea Academy Player of the Year Reece James will be a good youthful addition to the squad and the experience that Darron Gibson brings could be invaluable. He does have his issues off the field but if we can keep on top of those then we have a fine player on our hands.
A good start will be vital to any survival hopes we may have especially with a tough looking August ahead. Games against Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Stoke City and QPR all follow so an opening day win will go a long way to keeping confidence high off the back of last season which has seen so many sides achieve back-to-back promotions. I don’t for a second think we will achieve promotion or come anywhere close but we need to stay in this division this year so sitting at the foot of the table on zero points after five games is not an option. The last two seasons we have been relegated from this league our home form has been nothing short of appalling with only a handful of home wins from 46 games. If we are to survive this time around then we need to fix that sharpish and tomorrow plus the game against Forest in a fortnights time gives us a great chance to do that against two high profile sides and keep that good feeling going for a little longer than it has previously.