It’s here! The 2014-15 Sky Bet Championship campaign gets underway on Saturday as Reading visit the DW Stadium.
- Latics v Reading kicks off new campaign.
- The Royals travel to the DW Stadium without a league win in Wigan in 11 years.
- Latics have won their last four games against Reading.
Three months have passed since Latics narrowly missed out on a place in the Play-Offs of the Sky Bet Championship final at QPR and, after the World Cup in Brazil, football fever is back.
Tickets are still available for Saturday’s DW Stadium opener with Reading as many of Latics’ six summer signings will look to get their first taste of league action in front of Latics fans.
LAST SEASON –
Latics recorded their second successive win under new manager Uwe Rosler as goals from Chris McCann and Nick Powell, inside the first 12 minutes, helped down Reading 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium.
Rosler’s side had to hold firm after Pavel Pogrebnyak pulled a goal back for the visitors 20 minutes from time and that they did as the win secured a move into the top-half of the table.
Latics strengthened their own grip on the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off places whilst dealing a huge dent to Reading’s top-six ambitions.
First-half goals from Jordi Gomez and Martyn Waghorn were followed up by a wonderful solo goal from Callum McManaman in the second-half to give Uwe Rosler’s side a 3-0 victory.
THIS TIME AROUND
For the Royals, the summer has been surrounded by takeover speculation and, as a result, transfer activity in has been almost non-existent.
However, former Latics goalkeeper Nigel Adkins did lose star striker Adam Le Fondre to Cardiff City, leaving a 15-goal void from last campaign.
A partnership with a Thai Consortium has been announced and it seems that the Royals may well strengthen in the coming weeks with multiple players linked in the press this week.
The positives Adkins and his staff can draw from the lack of transfer activity is that they’ve been able to work with a close-knit group that has been together for some time.
Equally, players from the club’s impressive academy have made the step up since they narrowly missed out on a place in the final of the FA Youth Cup to Fulham last campaign.
MAN TO WATCH – PAVEL POGREBNYAK
Following the departure of Adam Le Fondre to Cardiff City, the Royals will be relying on Russian international striker Pavel Pogrebnyank to replace the 15 goals the former Rotherham United man bagged in the 2013-14 campaign.
Hailing from Moscow, Pogrebnyak notched 13 league goals himself last season and missed only seven Sky Bet Championship games.
The 30-year-old earned his initial break in English football with Fulham after moving to Craven Cottage on loan from German side VFB Stuttgart before Euro 2012.
Capped 33 times by his country, Pogrebnyak also enjoyed spells with Spartak Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg, winning the UEFA Cup with the latter 2008.