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Club News


1 December 2014

Results breeding confidence says Atherton as Under 18s continue winning streak.

  • Peter Atherton discusses Under 18s.
  • Hard work paying off for staff and players.
  • Latics unbeaten in 11, with nine straight league wins.
The Wigan Athletic Under 18s are on an outstanding run of form as of late, winning nine in a row in the Football League Youth Alliance, along with two penalty shootout victories in cup competitions extending their unbeaten spell to 11 games.

Victory came as recently as last Thursday afternoon, when two goals from Louis Robles and one each from Liam Lambert and Sean Harrison saw off Morecambe 4-0.

Speaking at the Christopher Park training ground, coach Peter Atherton said it’s great to see the hard work paying off, but the players and staff will be keeping themselves firmly grounded.

“The boys are working hard and we’re doing really well,” said Atherton.

“It’s not just me dealing with them, we’ve got a very good coaching team here and we work very hard on a daily basis.

“Things are heading in the right direction, Gregor Rioch has come in as Academy Manager and he’s implemented a lot of changes to put us on that correct track.

He continued:

“It’s nice to see the hard work paying for the lads on the pitch, they’ve been knuckling down and they deserve the results recently.

“The success has come sooner than we probably expected, but we’re not getting carried away.  The lads will continue to work just as hard.

“We should be at the top of this league and we’re aiming higher up the Academy pyramid.  We’re happy with the direction we’re heading in and what we’re achieving.”

A number of players from the Under 18 squad have already made the step up to play in the Development Squad this season, a good indicator for progression said Atherton.

“It’s a different kind of pressure now we’re at the top end of the table, but first and foremost the Under 18s is about developing players and getting them into the Development Squad, which we have done already this season.

“Myself an Joe came through the ranks at the club and it’s been a long time since we’ve had that kind of pathway.

“We’ve had a 16-year-old in Luke Burke (pictured) playing in the Development Squad which is massively encouraging and it shows we’re heading in the right direction.

“There have been a few, and those players are learning a lot amongst experienced players and against experienced players.

“A few weeks ago we played against Bolton Wanderers and Sam Cosgrove was up against David Wheater, a very experienced defender, so that was a great experience for him.  If we’re looking to bring players through, then learning against senior professionals like that is a great way to develop.”

Cosgrove has scored 14 goals for Latics this season, with strike partner Robles on 16.  On the pair, Atherton said:

“It’s a huge plus to have Sam and Louis scoring so many goals, but at the same time it also encourages the rest of the squad to start chipping in as well.

“We can’t take anything away from those two, they’re scoring all types of goals and it’s very encouraging.

“Sam has been suspended recently so it’s been an opportunity for other players to come in and show what they’re about.”

The latest from the Under 18s on YouTube.

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