Latics made a brilliant start to the Championship season with a 3-2 victory against Sheffield Wednesday. Excellent performances all round but particularly pleasing to see new boys Cedric Kipre, Antonee Robinson, Reece James and Darron Gibson settling in so quickly and putting in such strong debuts.
It is early days but the opening day victory can only have boosted the players’ confidence and helped to build the team spirit.
Latics do have some difficult games ahead with promotion candidates Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and Stoke City in the next three league games.
If they can come out of these games with a good points tally the prospects for the season will look even brighter.
Tomorrow Latics travel to Villa Park and Steve Bruce’s team will be desperate to improve on last season when they just missed out on promotion.
A point for Latics at one of this season’s promotion favourites would be an acceptable return.
Because of newspaper deadlines this piece had to be written before yesterday’s 5pm transfer deadline, so please bear this in mind when reading.
The transfer window is always an unsettling time with the inevitable speculation that Latics may lose some of their best players.
However, I’m optimistic that this window will have been a very good one for Paul Cook.
The financial backing now seems to be in place for the club to recruit effectively.
The manager has already added several quality players to his squad but there could have been even more by the deadline.
Everton’s Callum Connolly joined on deadline day for a season long loan and will provide competition for a place in either midfield or at full back.
He apparently impressed at Ipswich Town last season in a central midfield role.
Latics have made a bid for the son of former Bradford City and Hull City striker Dean Windass.
Josh Windass is a 24-year-old attacking midfielder who scored 18 goals for Rangers last season.
Latics number 10 shirt is vacant and there is a strong possibility that this will have been filled either with a permanent or loan signing.
Peterborough United’s Marcus Maddison has been a long-term target but the £2.5m asking fee could have proved a stumbling block.
As far as departures are concerned there has naturally been interest in several of Latics’ stars.
Premier League Brighton look likely to sign injured centre back Dan Burn for a fee in the region of £5m, although he will be loaned back to Wigan until at least January.
Aston Villa reportedly tabled a £5m bid for Nick Powell. Latics didn’t want to sell, but much will depend on Powell’s personal decision.
Forwards Devante Cole and Ryan Colclough could have left the club. Portsmouth were believed to be interested in both players, but unless an acceptable came in for either, Cook stated that they would remain at the club.
Jamie Walker is not currently in Cook’s first team squad and reports have suggested that Rangers have renewed their interest in the former Hearts player.
Midfielder Max Power was due to have talks with Sunderland and could be another departure.
However, midfielder Jordan Flores is definitely on his way to Swedish club Ostersunds FK on loan until the end of their season in December.
With Cook having already secured the services of Walton, Robinson, James, Kipre, Gibson, McManaman, Roberts, Bruce, Da Silva Lopes, Naismith and Connolly the squad is already looking much stronger.
It’s disappointing to lose Dan Burn, but if the club have managed to resist overtures for most of their star players they should be in for a successful season.
This article was first published in the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 10th August 2018.