Good run-out for squad in goalless draw at Chester.
- Latics kick off their pre-season campaign with 0-0 draw at Chester FC.
- 22 players involved, including new signings Gilbey, Burn and Warnock.
- Confident display with numerous chances as Latics get set for DW Stadium double-header.
CHESTER FC 0
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
Gary Caldwell's Latics kicked off their pre-season campaign with a 0-0 draw at Chester FC in their first official friendly of the summer, with 22 of the squad involved in a confident, but goalless display at Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.
Latics used separate line-ups in both halves, with Lee Nicholls the only constant throughout the match, as summer signings Alex Gilbey, Dan Burn and Stephen Warnock all started in the first half XI alongside trialist and former Latics defender Ryan Taylor.
Craig Davies, David Perkins and Gilbey all came close in the first half, with Jason Pearce, Emyr Huws, Ryan Colclough, Sam Cosgrove and Sanmi Odelusi among those introduced at half time to claim clear cut chances.
Interestingly, Chester lined up with former Latics youth team player Ryan Astles in defence, while midfielder Craig Mahon featured in Latics' reserves during the club's time in the Premier League and currently works for Wigan Athletic Community Trust.
Starting confidently and looking smart in their brand new away kit, Latics held long periods of possession, creating a string of chances in the opening 15 minutes through Michael Jacobs and Gilbey, before Davies' header from Warnock's cross was parried away at the near post by Liam Roberts.
Yanic Wildschut was typical in his powerful wide play, while Taylor, featuring in a Latics shirt for the first time since 2009, was back to mastering his set pieces. The former Newcastle United defender almost found the head of Gilbey in the area with a fine delivery, before whipping a right footed free kick wide of the left post from 25 yards.
Chester defender Johnny Hunt did his best to try and match Taylor's quality, with his left footed free kick from a similar distance left to go wide of the post by Nicholls.
The deadlock was almost broken by the unlikely source of Perkins. Known more for his tireless energy in midfield, the 2015/16 triple award winner looped a left footed effort narrowly wide of the left post from a Warnock cut back.
Chester gave a scare moments before half time when James Alabi broke Latics' back line, only for Nicholls to stand firm with an excellent save to keep it at 0-0.
And so the changes came for the second half, Andrew Taylor and Emyr Huws back in Latics shirts following their loan spells in the Sky Bet Championship last season, with Donervon Daniels, Jack Hendry, Sam Morsy, Tim Chow, Colclough, Odelusi, Pearce and Cosgrove also drafted on.
Wales international Huws was in the thick of the action early on, having a shot held by Chester's substitute keeper Jon Worsnop, before sending a teasing cross towards the back post for Pearce who turned his header behind.
Cosgrove also looked lively when linking up with Odelusi, but the youngster couldn't turn the former Bolton Wanderers' man's cross in first time from 18 yards.
Colclough was then denied one-on-one by Worsnop, before Odelusi showed his skill down the left by-line, but only saw his cutback driven into a blocking Chester defender by Daniels.
Danny Whitehead replaced Pearce towards the end of the 90 minutes for his first taste of action in Latics' first team surroundings, but despite the best efforts of the midfielder and the likes of Huws, Odelusi and Colclough, Chester remained firm and the game finished goalless.
Chester FC: Roberts (Worsnop 46), Vassell (Waters 67), Hudson (Excel 84), Astles, Horwood (Heath 67), George (Hughes 74), Mahon (Newitt 84), Hunt (Evans 67), Alabi (Richards 46), Chappell (Durrell 46), Joyce (Newton 74)
Latics' first half XI: Nicholls, Taylor, Perkins, Power, Gilbey, Davies, Burn, Jacobs, Morgan (Capt), Warnock, Wildschut
Latics' second half XI: Nicholls, A.Taylor, Daniels, Morsy, Odelusi, Huws, Cosgrove, Chow, Colclough, Pearce (Whitehead 75), Hendry