The Football Manc Cave

Focusing on the football news in Greater Manchester

How Wigan Athletic could line-up against Cardiff City on the opening day

Paul Cook will be working tirelessly to improve his side ahead of Cardiff’s visit to the DW Stadium on the opening day.

It’ll be a new look Wigan side considering four regular starters from last season have already left the club. Christian Walton, Reece James, Antonee Robinson all returned to their home clubs following loan deals, and Nick Powell opted to join Stoke rather than extend his stay at Latics.

Firstly, there’s the goalkeeping problem to sort. Walton was number one last campaign, he won’t be returning next season. Will Cook place his trust in Jamie Jones or Owen Evans? I’m not so sure, I would give Evans his long-awaited chance.

Byrne is a good right-back, and probably thankful he won’t have Reece James challenging him for his spot next season. I expect us to sign a new ‘ball-playing defender’ to partner a very solid Danny Fox, who I think will be appointed vice-captain. Robinson left-back, more in hope than expectation, in fairness, we need a left-back and it sounds like we’re really trying to push through a permanent deal.

Captain Morsy will be at the heart of midfielder again, fighting for every ball. Alfa Semedo will spot alongside perfectly, two powerhouses in midfield – I’m quite optimistic about this potential partnership.

A big part of our pre-season is getting Michael Jacobs fully-fit, he missed the majority of last season and wasn’t at his absolute best when returning. I imagine Windass will be given the opportunity to replace Powell, it’s his favoured position and he deserves a chance to nail it down as his own. Gavin Massey recently signed a new contract, one of our best players on his day, scored two against Leeds if you weren’t aware.

Onto the big one. Will it be Joe Garner? Callum Lang? Or will IEC splash the cash on Sam Gallagher, or even sign Jordan Rhodes three years too late.

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