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Let's take a look at Wigan Athletic ahead of the new campaign

12 June 2023

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Carrying on with our deep dive into the seven new teams to join us in Sky Bet League One next season, we are looking at fellow northern side Wigan Athletic who came down from the Championship in May.


It would be fair to say that troubles off the pitch certainly hindered the Latics’ maiden season back in the second tier after being promoted from League One after dominating the 2021/22 season and maybe one for supporters to put behind them after finishing 24th in the table.

The season started well as they were unbeaten in four in the league, with the only defeat in that time coming against Fleetwood in the opening round of the Carabao Cup midway through, and even after a loss to the eventual Champions Burnley, spirits stayed high in the camp.

Wins against play-off champions Luton Town and relegation candidates Huddersfield Town would follow before their next defeat against Reading – a win against Rotherham United rounded out the opening 10 games of the season and they were on 16 points.

The tides turned for the Latics after this though as eight losses in the next 10 dropped them down the league and off-the-pitch troubles started to creep in, meaning free fall in the table saw them near the bottom.

The appointment of former player Shaun Maloney brought some life back into the side, but the damage was done by then as relegation to League One was all but confirmed meaning they would be the first to fall from the second division.

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A player that the Cod Army will be familiar with is forward Will Keane, who has faced off against Fleetwood a number of times, and even found the back of the net in a recent encounter which finished 3-2 to Wigan at Highbury back in November 2021.

The 30-year-old, who started his career at Manchester United, made three appearances for the Red Devils and made a few trips out on loan to clubs like Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield Wednesday, and Preston North End before joining Hull City in 2016.

His trip to the Tigers saw him reunited with former coach Mike Phelan from Manchester United, but his time at the KCOM didn’t go to plan as, after making his debut in September 2016, he suffered a serious knee ligament injury, which put him out until the next January.

A brief spell at Ipswich Town followed before he made the permanent move to the club based at Portman Road in 2019, where he would go on to make 34 appearances (including his loan spell) and score six goals.

He seemed to find his scoring form when he made his way to Wigan the next year though and even found himself winning the award for League One top goal scorer in the 2021/22 season where he would net 26 by the end of the campaign.

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Games against the Latics aren’t new to Fleetwood as we’ve faced off 10 times already in all competitions, with the last coming in the Carabao Cup back in August last year, which saw Town come out on top after their 1-0 win after Ged Garner’s first-half opener.

It’s always been a bit back-and-forth between the two sides as although Wigan managed to do the double over Town during the 2021/22 season, the Cods were unbeaten – after three – in the season before.

Looking back on those games, it was another Carabao Cup fixture which started off the season and, even though former Cod Joe Garner bagged a brace on the day, so did Ched Evans, with Josh Morris also getting on the score sheet to send Town to the next round.

The other two games that season ended in draws, the first was a heart-breaking 1-1 end at Highbury as Ollie Crankshaw cancelled out Danny Andrew’s opener with seconds to go and then, in the following January, it was a goalless draw at the DW Stadium in 2021.

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