The September 1st transfer deadline is fast approaching and the turnover in the Latics’ playing staff shows no sign of abating.
Gary Caldwell has already been very active in the transfer market and has brought in ten new players: Stephen Warnock, Alex Gilbey, Dan Burn, Kyle Knoyle, Nick Powell, Adam Bogdan, Jake Buxton, Jordi Gomez, Shaun MacDonald and Luke Garbutt but there are likely to be more comings and goings before the deadline.
Caldwell created practically a whole new team last season and he seems to be working on similar lines this time around. The manager is determined to bring in more new players to boost the club’s chances this term.
Currently top of Caldwell’s shopping list are a right back and a striker but don’t rule out further additions in other positions as well. Latics have been linked with numerous transfer targets, most recently Benfica striker Nélson Oliveira, Bolton defender Josh Vela, Hearts defender Callum Paterson and West Ham defender Reece Burke.
Of course, there are also likely to be outgoings as well. Latics have already released several players either permanently or on loan, and Sam Morsy and Ryan Colclough have been attracting interest from other clubs.
The scramble for players will reach a crescendo next Wednesday as each team seeks to gain an advantage.
There is so much media hysteria around the transfer window and players’ agents are constantly talking up their client’s abilities so Latics must not get caught up in the hype. The quality of the incoming players is paramount and Caldwell and his recruitment team must ensure that they bring in the right type of player.
Latics come up against old foes Queens Park Rangers on Saturday and they will be looking to revenge the disappointment of an extra time play-off defeat in May 2014.
Gary Caldwell will remember the game for all the wrong reasons as he conceded a penalty and Rangers went on to win the game 2-1 and progress to the play-off final.
Caldwell will certainly be looking for Latics to improve defensively against QPR after some basic errors let the team down at Nottingham Forest. The manager was very critical of the team’s defending and admitted that they conceded some ridiculous goals. He went on:
“It’s basic things like tracking runners, making tackles and allowing their right back to get into the box too easily and cutting it back for the lad to have a free hit from the edge of the box”.
Add silly back passes to the list and you have a recipe for disaster.
The priority this week will have been working on defensive drills and cutting out basic mistakes. Let’s all hope all the lessons have been learned and Latics can quickly get back to winning ways.
This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 26th August 2016.