It’s been a typically hectic close season at Latics with a new manager Paul Cook, new coaching staff and the usual high turnover of players.
For some fans transfer speculation can be unsettling as their favourite players seek a move away or they are told that the players are not in the manager’s plans.
I was disappointed with the departures of experienced defenders Stephen Warnock and Jake Buxton and keeper Matt Gilks but that may have been down to the large wage bill rather than any shortcomings of the players.
Max Power has expressed his desire to leave while Omar Bogle doesn’t apparently fit into Cook’s style of play.
Both would’ve been assets in League One but Latics do have strength in depth in most areas with some promising new signings.
Young forward Ivan Toney joined on loan from Newcastle United on Wednesday but I’m still expecting a few more ins and outs before the end of the transfer window with Peterborough midfielder Marcus Maddison among those linked with Latics.
However, competition for a starting place will be tough with an array of options particularly in midfield with Sam Morsy, David Perkins, Alex Gilbey, Lee Evans, Jordan Flores, Nathan Byrne and Michael Jacobs.
Going forward, youngster Callum Lang has had an impressive pre-season and if Will Grigg and Nick Powell can get back to full fitness they will surely score plenty of goals at this level.
Looking at League One as a whole I think Blackburn will be the favourites for automatic promotion as they have a strong squad and have done well since Tony Mowbray took over.
There’s about eight or nine teams who could be in the hunt for the play-offs. Cook’s former club Portsmouth look strong and I expect them to be amongst those challenging at the top end alongside Latics, Fleetwood, Scunthorpe and Bradford.
New manager Cook looks the right fit for Latics and has made a good impression with the fans in pre-season.
He certainly has the potential to be successful, like another Liverpudlian Paul Jewell who led the club from the third tier to the Premier League between 2001 and 2005, but only time will tell if he can reach those heady heights.
The season kicks off tomorrow at one of Will Grigg’s former clubs MK Dons and everyone will be hoping that the striker can reignite the fire that took Latics to the League One title in 2015/16.
This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 4th August 2017.