What Can We Expect from Wigan in the 2021/22 Campaign?
Wigan Athletic experienced a tough campaign in the 2020/21 season.
Latics were one of the favourites to be relegated from League One due to our perilous ownership situation, but the club persevered despite matters off the pitch. We can look forward to the new campaign with slightly more optimism, although there is still a long road ahead for the club to propel itself towards the Championship once more.
Leam Richardson performed heroics to guide the Latics away from trouble. Matters were looking bleak after a 1-0 defeat to Portsmouth, but four straight wins, including a 4-1 triumph over Doncaster Rovers and 2-1 win against Sunderland, sparked a revival to see us over the line. Despite our late-season form, the bookmakers are not too confident that we’ll push for promotion next term, being backed at 7/1 in the football betting odds to return to the second tier. After a tumultuous two years, most fans would settle for a campaign without drama, and it might be in the best interests of the club to settle in before making a potential surge down the line.
Zach Clough, Corey Whelan, Alex Perry, and Dan Gardner have all departed the DW Stadium. With only 19 senior players available in the squad, the Tics are reportedly not resting on their laurels to strengthen the squad. Jack Whatmough has allegedly been offered a lucrative contract after turning down a new deal at Portsmouth. A move for the centre-back would be a signal of intent from chairman Talal Al Hammad. Only Swindon, Rochdale, and Plymouth had a worse defensive record than us in League One last term. Whatmough was a standout player at Fratton Park, but we appear to have stolen a march on Pompey to lure him away from the South Coast.
At the other end of the pitch, Will Keane’s new contract will tie the forward down until 2023. His 11 goals in League One were vital, and will be a crucial player over the next two-year period due to his experience and guile in the final third. Callum Lang was equally important, notching nine goals in 21 appearances. Between two players, we have the basis of a strong strikeforce for the division.
Kyle Joseph is reportedly attracting interest from Championship clubs Preston and Swansea City. The Scot impressed by scoring a hat-trick against Burton and notching a strike in a win over Sunderland in December. However, a back injury halted his progress in the second half of the season, only returning for the height of the term. If the Tics can convince him to remain at the DW Stadium, it would be a massive boost, although the riches of the second tier may convince the forward to move up.
Despite potential outgoings, life does look a lot brighter heading into the new campaign. If the Latics can make further additions with the ambition of the Whatmough move, then it could be a very fruitful campaign indeed. Or at the least a comfortable one without drama. We could all do with that.
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