Tag Archives: Callum Lang

‘Give Lang a start!’ Wigan Athletic’s 11 should look like this ahead of their friendly with Bradford City

Wigan Athletic travel to Bradford City on Saturday, for a pre-season friendly, before they play host to Premier League sides Burnley and Everton.

Dan from The Football Manc Cave predicts what Paul Cook’s side may look like on Saturday, as they continue their preparations ahead of their season opener vs Cardiff on August 3rd.

Kicking off with David Marshall in goal, the more game-time he can get in pre-season the better because he’ll be number one next season. Let’s welcome Antonee Robinson back with a start, while Nathan Byrne will adopt his regular right-back spot. Danny Fox missed the final two games of last season through injury, so it’s important to play him, and form a partnership with Cedric Kipre in case Cook doesn’t sign the centre half he’s chasing.

Captain Sam Morsy got a well-deserved break after not being picked in Egypt’s African Cup of Nations squad, he’ll be raring to go. Chris Merrie is a highly-rated youngster, he could be in for some game-time next campaign, let’s see what he’s got against League Two opposition.

Similarly, Lopes has bags of potential, and will likely be loaned out if Jamal Lowe completes his move, however, I feel he deserves a chance to express himself. Lee Evans performed well in the ‘number 10’ role at the end of last season, he may well be needed next year too. Michael Jacobs was injured for a large part of last season, it’s vital he fully participated in pre-season and is 100% fit for the opener vs Cardiff.

Finally, Callum Lang is one of two strikers at the club. We know what we’ll get from Joe Garner. Lang has never played in a league game, maybe next season is his time? Let him loose.

3 players that need to step up and impress in pre-season for Oldham Athletic

Laurent Banide’s pre-season could be reflected in Oldham Athletic’s starting 11 we see on a weekly basis during the EFL League Two campaign. This means that the players have to impress.

Oldham Atheltic will face two local sides in their pre-season friendlies; Bolton Wanderers and Rochdale. Both of which will be competing in the league above next season in the EFL League One.

Should manager Laurent Banide provide solid performances against their higher tier neighbours it will put them in good stead going into their new campaign. In his first press conference, Banide stressed the importance of a ‘hands-on’ approach with the players. Therefore, many weaknesses in individuals that we saw in previous years, may well be vastly improved upon. Following the fantastically appraised coaching skills of Banide have been put into place.

However, Banide cannot attempt to achieve a high table finish on his own, he needs to get the best out of his squad.

The French manager is testing new waters with his first experience in English football. But Banide has a wealth of knowledge in coaching players to be the best they can be.

Thierry Henry referred to the once Monaco coach as “one of the greatest coaches” he has ever worked with.

In order for the Latics to improve on their recent seasons, the entire squad need a new attitude and change of approach. In a squad full of potential quality, here are three specific players who need to step up and impress the boss in the pre-season.

Giles Coke

Coke is a 33-year-old central or right-sided midfielder, who wears the number 7 shirt for Oldham since he signed in the summer of 2018. The Englishman has played for several clubs in both England and Scotland. Coke is a dominant character on the field and should be a figurehead for the younger players in the squad. With one year remaining on his contract, he should be pushing to get his team promoted.

Alex Iacovetti

Iacovetti is a recent signing for the Latics following a loan spell last season. The 21-year-old centre-back has been shown to be working hard in training on social media. However, Oldham’s defensive capabilities were of great concern last season. This means that young Scottish international has every chance of seeing first team action should he demonstrate improvements to the defence.

A new striker?

Last season, loanee Callum Lang scored the most goals for Oldham last season with 13. With his return to Wigan Atheltic, Oldham desperately need a striker who can hit the back of the net 20 times in a season.

Hidden gems: 2 Wigan Athletic youngsters that could be worth big money

I’m still not sure where the James McCarthy money has gone, but I’m going to look at how we can make it back.

Wigan has always been well known for buying players for peanuts and selling them on for millions. Antonio Valencia, Wilson Palacios, Victor Moses, just to name a few. The most recent one was Yanic Wildschut, I think he’s retired now.

Anyway, enough of looking back at the Premier League days, I prefer the EFL.

Do Wigan have any hidden gems we could sell to fund a Nick Powell statue…we just might.

Callum Lang

He hasn’t even played in a league game for Wigan yet, what a great suggestion ‘ey. Trust me, he will be playing a part next season, at some point. Still only 20 years old, he just looks a natural goal scorer. Last season, Lang was happy to learn his trade at Oldham, returning after scoring 13 goals and impressing all of their fans.

The most expensive players in football, are usually strikers that score goals for fun. Let’s say Lang bursts on the scene with seven or eight goals by January – I have no doubt there’ll be clubs throwing big money bids in for him.

Gavin Massey

I think we’ve yet to see the best of Massey, and he’s only going to improve year upon year. His last season was hampered by a hamstring injury, however, when he returned, he saved football and scored two against Leeds to see us safe from relegation, oh and he scored vs Bolton for good measure.

A player that I can see going a long way, very quick and tricky, likes to beat defenders, happy to drift inside to score goals. I was fearful he wouldn’t sign a new contract, thankfully he has, and I expect him to play a pivotal role for us next season.

INTERESTED: What would MK Dons striker Chuks Aneke bring to Wigan Athletic

Wigan are interested in signing MK Dons striker Chuks Aneke, with the striker expected to leave on a free. The Dons have offered the Englishman a new contract, however, with a host of Championship clubs chasing his signature, it’s likely he’ll be making the step-up next season. 

Aneke was a pivotal part of a side that won promotion from League Two, scoring 17 league goals. Paul Tisdale will be fighting hard to keep his talisman, nevertheless, the lure of playing football in the Championship will surely be too much.

Paul Cook will be looking for a striker now Leon Clarke has returned to Sheffield United, and Nick Powell is on the verge of joining Stoke. He is left with just Joe Garner and Callum Lang.

The Latics manager tends to play with a lone striker, who has the ability to hold the ball up and bring other attacking players into the game. A problem for us last season was the lack of pace in attack. Aneke has a good balance between physicality and speed. Although he’s six foot three and strong, the striker also has the pace to run in behind defenders, which would be a perfect match for our style of play.

Garner scored eight goals and performed well last season. He’s a constant threat to defenders because of his endeavour and movement in the box. I wouldn’t be surprised if he started the season as our number nine. However, we need variation and different options as a back-up.

Signing a young, quick striker to use off the bench, or away from home is very important for us, maybe Aneke is the man we’re targeting?

He’s for nowt, sign him up.

The 2 Wigan wonderkids who could have a major impact on the club’s season

With Wigan finishing 18th in last season’s Championship, it’s safe to say that the Latics will be hungry for a better League campaign and a higher finish in the table going into 2019/20.

Most teams are looking elsewhere this time of year and trying to sign a few players that can improve their line up. However, Wigan’s manager, Paul Cook suggests that the Latics’ blossoming youth team is something worth shouting about. So who could make a difference in the upcoming season? 

Scott Smith

The teenage midfielder is captain of the under 18’s Wigan side. He has had a quality run with the youth team, but yet to be called up for first team responsibilities. He is making a name for himself within his squad. All it would take is for Cook to take a chance on him and have him on the bench a couple of times, therefore easing him into the first team as a substitute to start off with.

The 18-year-old has also just been named in “The 11” award, which recognises 11 young players with achievements on and off the pitch. The academy manager congratulated the youngster and said, he has “set the standard” for the next group of Under 18’s. 

Callum Lang

The 20-year-old has already been named as a first team player but has not had the chance to show Wigan fans what he is capable of. The striker started his youth at Liverpool, before moving to Wigan and was eventually called up to the first team. Afterwards, he was sent straight out on loan to Morecambe in 2017, where he managed 30 appearances and 10 goals.

When the 2018/19 season approached, he was loaned to Oldham Athletic where he worked wonders. In 42 appearances he managed 13 goals. He should be given the chance to see if he can prove himself for Wigan’s first team, especially if no one puts an offer in for him over the summer. 

There’s a nervousness around Oldham Athletic with the fans divided ahead of the new season

Every football supporter secretly starts off a season believing that their club can win the league, but Oldham fans appear to have decided that more misery is to be inflicted on them in the coming campaign.

There has been little enthusiasm shown for next season, probably because of the absence of news from the club regarding new signings and the appointment of a new coach.

Even with one of those issues solved with the arrival of new coach Laurent Banide, the outlook is cautious, to say the least.

It is true to say that supporters get very nervous if a full squad isn’t in place by the first week in June. This close season seems to be worse than usual, probably because of the circus that surrounded the club last season.

At present, it is difficult to see how a side could be put together from the 18 players whose faces appear in the first team list on the club website. For a start, we only have one goalkeeper in Zeus de la Paz. He had little opportunity to prove himself last season, given the heroics of on-loan Daniel Iversen.

Defensively we look threadbare as well. With the George Edmondson transfer still unresolved, and Jamie Stott rumoured to be attracting interest from Stockport it doesn’t bode well for Oldham.

It is the forward line which is giving Latics fans the most amount of sleepless nights, with only Chris O’Grady, Jonathan Benteke and Johan Branger currently listed as being with the club. Replacing Callum Lang was always going to be a major task. However, unless there are plans to bring in one or two more forward players soon, the prospect of a struggle next season seems very real.

With Banide not due to take up his appointment till July 1st, the signing of players might not materialize till then prompting further nervousness. On ‘OWTB’ one of the Oldham message boards, ‘Chaddy14’ adopted a hopeful approach:

Personally, I would like to welcome Laurent to Latics and wish him every success. I dread to think what he must think about the club and this group of “fans” he is joining if most of these posts were passed on to him (an translated if need be before anyone else has yet another pop).
I’ll judge him by what he does and the impact he has on the coaching at the club and remembers that he was not part of the “past” and to be honest he can’t be worse than the quitter Scholes!
God help him at a meet the coach pre-season with some of the contributors on here! At least he’s a fully qualified/badged coach unlike some of our historic crop of “managers”
Good luck!

However, there are some people who just won’t give the new man or next season a chance.

Two Immediate Things Banide Must Do For Oldham Athletic Ahead Of Next Season

Laurent Banide was appointed Oldham Athletic manager on Tuesday. Who saw that one coming? Certainly not me. The Frenchman has spent the majority of his managerial career in Qatar, then turns up at Boundary Park – probably one of the strangest appointments in recent years.  

The appointment has certainly split opinion with The Latics fan, it has the feeling of a three-month tenure going terribly wrong, and him walking away. Oldham fans wanted and expected their new manager to have EFL experience, who could battle through the club’s current ‘off-field’ problems, and sign loans/frees who he had connections with.

Anyway, good luck Oldham. Maybe you’ve found the next Jose Mourinho, it’s a gamble that will probably make or break their season.

I look at a couple of things that Banide must do ahead of the 2019/20 campaign…

Get the fans on side

There was a largely negative reaction to the announcement of his appointment. Banide needs to have a clear plan for the club, show his ambition and convince the fans he is the man to take Oldham forward. Loyal fans will stick with their club regardless of division, managers or players because they are supporters. However, the Frenchman needs to have the fans backing ahead of the season – show your working hard, start building a squad and connect with the fans.

Sign a goalscorer

In League Two, if you have a regular goal scorer who can bag 20+ goals, you’ll generally be challenging at the right end of the table come May. A man of Banide’s experience will know scoring goals is key, particularly in leagues that are competitive and provide tight contests. Callum Lang scored 16 goals for The Latics last season, I wonder if they’ll explore the possibility of him returning on loan, should Wigan be looking for him to gain more experience in the EFL.

Oldham Athletic Fans Yearly Panic About A Lack Of Signings Starts A Month Early

There’s something that happens every year when the football season ends – the players tend to go on holiday.

This is obviously a situation that many fans find difficult to accept but they may have a point. After all, who has ever seen Sergio Aguero or Harry Kane taking advantage of happy hour in the bar of the Rosamar Beach and Spa Hotel in Tenerife, or struggling to inflate a lilo on the beach in Benidorm? Exactly.

If a club hasn’t made significant numbers of signings by the time the fixtures are out then the season can be pretty much written off according to some. Oldham have secured the services of Alex Iacovitti and Gevaro Nepomuceno and, signed 10 youngsters up for the Academy but for some that aren’t good enough with the 19/20 season just 59 days away.

There was an uproar from certain quarters when Jose Baxter and Peter Clarke were released at the end of the season. It was argued that they would be snapped up immediately by our rivals, and return to Boundary Park to wreak havoc on the club for our short-sightedness in releasing them.

Of course, they might well do but at present, neither have a new club or look like getting one…or they could be on holiday.

It is true that some clubs like Northampton have made a number of signings, but with the transfer of George Edmundson still up in the air. Waiting to see how much money we might have to spend, before diving in for the likes of ex Macclesfield forward (Harry Smith) with a staggering 8 goals last season seems perfectly sensible.

There is also a myth that all the decent players will get ‘snapped up’ and we’ll be left with the bottom of the barrel. However, it is a fact that given the size of some Premier League and Championship squads, loan signings often do not surface until the season has started. Both Sam Surridge and Callum Lang didn’t join the club till late July last year.

It would improve the atmosphere that exists at present if the club could decide who their new coach will be, but until then, the more impatient of Oldham’s supporters are doing their blood pressure no favours as the day’s tick by.

Two Players Wigan Athletic Should Be Looking At Following Benfica Hook Up

Wigan are linking up with Benfica to take a number of their youth players on loan. Yes, you read that right, Wigan and Benfica in partnership. This could be a masterstroke or a nightmare, as a Wigan fan, I hope it’s a masterstroke.

The Latics used the loan market perfectly last season, with Christian Walton (Brighton), Antonee Robinson (Everton) and Reece James (Chelsea) all playing pivotal roles, in a season we finished a positive 18th.

This apparent Benfica link has come about as a complete surprise to everyone. We were expecting a few Chelsea players to arrive on loan, because of the brilliant work we did with James last season. However, this is Wigan, we never do anything the easy way.

So, time to pretend I know everything about Benfica B, who could we potentially poach…

Ivan Saponjic – A Cook type striker

With Leon Clarke returning to newly-promoted Sheffield United, Wigan are left with just two striker options, Joe Garner and Callum Lang. I expect Paul Cook to stick with his trusty 4-2-3-1 formation next season, and also sign a new striker.

We predominantly play with three quick, tricky attacking midfielders, however, most fans felt we never had that goal-scoring target man last season to benefit from them. Maybe 6ft4 Ivan Saponjic can be the answer to all of our problems. The striker has featured for Serbia at youth level and looks the ideal replacement for Clarke, style-wise anyway.

Chris Willock – a Nick Powell replacement?

This is an interesting one. Born in London, Willock joined Arsenal’s academy when he was five years old. He, then aged 16, appeared for the Arsenal first team in a pre-season friendly in 2014 when Arsène Wenger described him as a “very interesting player”.

After not receiving an opportunity in the first-team, Willock opted to sign a five-year contract at Portuguese champions Benfica. Judging from a three-minute video on Youtube, he is the next Lionel Messi – that’s why he’ll sign for Wigan. In all seriousness, he looks very quick, with a good final ball and is super confident. Cook will be desperately looking for a player to replace Powell, and perhaps Willock is the man he’s targeting.

Two Reasons Why Wigan Athletic Should Not Loan Out Callum Lang Next Season, Despite Interest From Tranmere Rovers

Callum Lang returns to Wigan after a successful loan spell at Oldham, scoring 16 goals. It is being reported that Tranmere manager Micky Mellon wants to sign Lang, following a failed attempt in January. With top scorer James Norwood closing on a move to Ipswich, Rovers are looking to sign a striker to replace his goals.

Despite a positive finish, which saw Paul Cook’s side finish 18th, Wigan struggled to score goals for the majority of the season. Joe Garner and Nick Powell were the Latics’ top scorers but scored just eight goals each. Adding pressure to the situation, it’s being reported that Powell will join Stoke on a free transfer, and Leon Clarke will return to Sheffield United at the end of his loan deal.

If this occurs, it leaves Wigan with very limited attacking options, and money will need to be spent on replacing returning loanees – Christian Walton, Antonee Robinson and Reece James, therefore Lang may be given an opportunity to lead the line next season.

Would Wigan fans be excited to see Lang as their new number nine?

Fox in the box

Wigan’s main strength is their creativity out wide. Michael Jacobs and Gavin Massey provide pace and trickery, but they lack that natural goalscorer to benefit from their quality.  Lang scored a majority of his goals at Oldham from inside the box, proving he is a very good instinctive finisher.

You feel that Lang playing in a team with that much pace and quality on the wings is a match made in heaven – give him service and he will score goals. Hopefully, he gets his long-awaited chance at Wigan and grabs it. Now Will Grigg has left, Wigan fans need a new striker to create a song about.

Lang is worth taking a gamble on

As previously mentioned, Wigan needs to sign a lot of players this summer. A ‘proven Championship goal-scorer’ would cost Wigan a good few million, which they simply can’t afford. Lang is a hungry, confident and in-form striker, after scoring 16 goals last season, surely he deserves a chance to show he is ready for the step-up to the Championship.

It’s an exciting time for both Lang and Wigan fans, a 20-year-old striker could be about to become their new sensation. Let him loose Cook, let’s see how good he is.

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