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Premiership Season Preview 2006/07 – Wigan Athletic

Premiership Season Preview 2006/07 – Wigan Athletic

Wigan Athletic

Odds: 1500/1

Last Five Seasons

2005/06 – 10 (Premiership), 2004/05 – 2 (Championship, Promoted), 2003/04 – 7 (Championship),

2002/03 – 1 (League One, Promoted), 2001/02 – 10 (League One).

2005/06 Cup Progress

FA Cup Fourth Round vs Manchester City (a) – lost 1-0.

Carling Cup Final vs Manchester United (n) – lost 4-0.

Top Goal Scorer 2005/06: Jason Roberts (striker) – 14 goals.

Players In

Emile Heskey (Birmingham City – £5,500,000), Denny Landzaat (AZ Alkmaar – £2,500,000), Emmerson Boyce (Crystal Palace – £1,000,000), Fitz Hall (Crystal Palace – Free), Chris Kirland (Liverpool – Loan).

Players Out

Jason Roberts (Blackburn Rovers – £3,000,000), Jimmy Bullard (Fulham – £2,500,000), Alan Mahon (Burnley – £200,000), David Thompson (Portsmouth – Free), Kevin Lee (Southport – Free), Matt Jackson (Released), Stephane Henchoz (Released).

Wigan Athletic, like West Ham United, enjoyed an excellent first season in the Premiership, finishing tenth and reaching the Carling Cup final. The Latics now face a tough second season which will be even more difficult with the losses of both Jimmy Bullard and last season’s top goal scorer Jason Roberts, both of whom moved on to different clubs in the summer.

Manager Paul Jewell broke the club’s transfer record to bring striker Emile Heskey to the JJB Stadium from relegated Birmingham City in a £5.5 million deal. Heskey will replace the departed Roberts although Jewell also tried to sign Andy Johnson from Crystal Palace.

However, two new recruits were signed from Palace in Fitz Hall and Emmerson Boyce. Hall joined for an undisclosed fee, reportedly £3 million and signed a four year contract while Boyce joined for an initial fee of £1 million which could rise by an extra £200,000 depending on appearances. The versatile Boyce can play in central defence and at right back which fuels speculation that Pascal Chimbonda is set to leave the club.

Dutch international midfielder Denny Landzaat signed for a fee believed to be £2.5 million from AZ Alkmaar, with Wigan seeing off competition from Espanyol to secure the 21 capped Alkmaar captain’s signature.

Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland signed on a six month loan deal with a view to a permanent transfer. Kirkland, who cost £6 million five years ago from Coventry City, spent last season on loan at West Bromwich Albion but was unable to oust Tomasz Kuszczak as the club’s first choice goalkeeper.

Verdict

Influential players such as Jason Roberts, Jimmy Bullard and Stephane Henchoz have left the club and the Latics could find themselves involved in a relegation battle next season rather than challenging for a place in Europe. They are good value for the drop at 10/3.

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