Shaun Maloney Wigan Athletic boss makes honest squad admission ahead of trip

Shaun Maloney has conceded that Wigan Athletic are “probably three players down” from where he’d ideally like to be for the first week of pre-season. However, the Latics boss is hopeful of adding a couple more new players before Monday, when the squad departs for a week-long training camp in Hungary.

Maloney has made three signings so far this off-season, bringing in loan duo Mickael Olakigbe from Brentford and Calvin Ramsay from Liverpool, as well as securing Dion Rankine from Chelsea on a three-year deal.

In addition, veteran Andy Lonergan will combine his new role as goalkeeping coach with providing back-up for youngsters Sam Tickle and Tom Watson.

The Latics have re-signed Jason Kerr, Harry McHugh, and Callum McManaman, but Maloney acknowledges there are still positions in the squad that “need to be stronger.”

When asked whether he was happy with how recruitment was going, Maloney replied: “Yes and no. When you look at the other clubs in the division, Rotherham have done amazing work, but every club is different, with varying levels of resources and finances.

“I’ve been really happy with the three we’ve brought in, but there are definitely positions where we need to be stronger. I gave us a target of 90 percent of the squad for the first day, and we’re probably three players down from that.

“It’s really about getting that work done as soon as possible because every session is valuable. But I know everyone is working really hard; it’s certainly not through a lack of effort.”

On the prospect of possibly adding to the squad before the Hungary trip, Maloney said: “Yeah, definitely, we’re still pushing for a couple more.”

With Charlie Wyke, Josh Magennis, and Stephen Humphrys having moved on to new opportunities, center-forward is undoubtedly the most pressing area of concern.

“Absolutely,” agreed Maloney. “And not just because of the goals we’ve lost, but also the personalities.

“Josh especially brought something to the group that no one else had, in terms of his leadership.

“But yes, the No.9 position is an area we’re really focused on… Josh Stones had a brief spell in the team before his loan to Oldham, but it would be a big ask for him to be our only No.9 at the moment.

“We’re likely looking to sign two No.9s, to relieve the burden on Josh and to compete for the starting spot.

“We need to strengthen that area, and do it quickly.”

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