Town chief expects newly-promoted Latics to be a 'dangerous' opponent in the Championship

Luton manager wants to secure a first home win of the season
Wigan Athletic boss Leam RichardsonWigan Athletic boss Leam Richardson
Wigan Athletic boss Leam Richardson

Hatters boss Nathan Jones is expecting newly-promoted Wigan Athletic to be a ‘dangerous’ opposition during their first season back in the Championship.

The Latics were relegated to League One in 2020, following a 12-point deduction after being placed into administration, but only took two seasons to bounce back to the second tier.

Led by Leam Richardson, who took over in March 2021, leading them to the title last term, Wigan have started solidly enough, picking up one win at Birmingham, while drawing with Norwich City, West Bromwich Albion, Preston North End and Bristol City.

Their only blip was a 5-1 hammering handed out by Burnley last weekend, as they sit in 18th place and possess a squad with plenty of experience to draw from in the shape of James McLean, Graeme Shinnie and Max Power.

Giving his thoughts on today’s opponents, Jones said: “They have an excellent squad, so it will be tough.

“They have continuity because they got promoted and a promoted side are always dangerous, especially one that has the experience and the knowhow that they do so it will be the toughest of games again.

“We love playing at home, we are looking forward to the game because we enjoy working hard and competing against good sides and Wigan are a good side.

“They will be very tough opposition and I’m sure they will do well in the Championship because they are equipped to do it.

“They have a manager who is experienced and knows the level, and they have enough experience in the squad to know the level so it will be a very tough game.”

Richardson was assistant manager to Paul Cook at his former side Accrington Stanley back in 2012, following the manager to Chesterfield, Portsmouth and then Wigan in 2017.

Once Cook left in 2020 and John Sheridan’s brief spell had ended, Richardson was named caretaker manager, appointed permanently in April 2021, leading the Latics to the League One title last term.

The former Accrington and Blackpool full back is someone Jones clearly has a lot of time for, as he continued: “Wigan are a tough side to play against, Leam’s done fantastic there in, originally, difficult circumstances, but he’s done a wonderful job.

“He got his opportunity, obviously worked at the club with Cooky and done wonderfully well.

“He’s a good guy, I like him.

"I’ve come across him many times with Portsmouth and Wigan.

"He’s done fantastically well and he should be proud of what he’s done.”

For the Hatters, they will be hunting a first home win of the season after taking just two points from their previous three games at Kenilworth Road.

Jones said: “Whoever we play, when we’re at home we want to win a football game.

"We were very unfortunate not to do that against Sheffield United, but we’ve had three home games now, haven’t picked up a win, so we want to do that.

“We want to get that off our back, regardless of who the opposition is.”

Town can go into the game on the back of some excellent form though, with two wins in Wales making it seven points garnered from a possible nine.

It means they are starting to pick up the results that Jones believes their displays have deserved, adding: “We felt we should’ve started a bit better because our performances merited that.

"We had a couple of sticky performances and results and then we’ve bounced back.

“It’s early days yet after seven games. After 10 or 12 you’ll see the table start to take shape and people categorically won’t have 10 unlucky games.

“So, hopefully we’ll continue to pick up points.

"We’ve got another tough month, with some big teams to play, some ex-Premier League teams, Wigan Stoke, Blackburn.

“Coventry, I think have been in the Premier League, so we’ve got four ex-Premier League teams to play.

“It’s a wonderful month coming up.”