Chey Dunkley recalls his time at Oxford United, talks about his good friends Curtis Nelson and Rob Hall, and focuses on Latics' final five games of the Sky Bet League One campaign.
- Programme interview: Chey Dunkley.
- Defender Dunkley shares his thoughts on Oxford United in our big interview for the match day programme.
- Dunkley hopes to win 'friendly competition' for goals against defensive partner Dan Burn.
Catch up with Chey Dunkley ahead of Latics' clash with his former club Oxford United with an excerpt from his feature interview in the Wigan Athletic match day programme.
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FIRST AND FOREMOST, IT’S YOUR FORMER CLUB OXFORD UNITED VISITING THE DW STADIUM, TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR TIME AT THE CLUB.
“I really enjoyed my time there and I owe the club a lot for giving me the chance to play league football.
“When I signed in January 2015 we were mid-table and in the bottom half of League Two, so it was hard to get into the team at first and I only made nine appearances before the end of the season.
“Michael Appleton was making changes at the time because he’d inherited a squad. I was a squad player at first and used to help push other players on as competition.
“I was fortunate to be at the club during the rise from League Two to League One, but even at the start of that season I was in and out of the team.
“Just before December of the 2015-16 season I got myself into the team on a regular basis and stayed there. I added a few goals to my game and didn’t look back. To get into the team when I did was great for me because we were playing well and winning a lot of games, it really helped to develop me as a player and I’m very grateful for that.”
NO DOUBT YOU STILL HAVE GOOD FRIENDS AT OXFORD UNITED, TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THEM, IN PARTICULAR CURTIS NELSON AND ROB HALL WHO YOU’VE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH RECENTLY.
“I still speak to the boys at Oxford. Curtis Nelson is one of those and when he got injured earlier in the season I gave him a call just to tell him to keep his head in the game and be patient.
“He’s getting back to fitness now which is great news for him and for the club. He’s Oxford’s skipper and he’s a big player that they’ve missed for a large period of the season.
“Hopefully he’s back soon and it will be like a new signing for them if he makes it before the end of the season.
“I advised him not to rush too much because recurring injuries are always a danger and that happened to another one of my old team mates at Oxford, Rob Hall.
“He was injured early in the season and came back nearly at full fitness but then ended up getting injured again.
“It’s not because they rushed his rehab or anything, it might just have been a case of him not being physically ready or an unfortunate incident like our own Shaun MacDonald.
“Macca was ready and fit to play but ended up with a completely different injury in a friendly, so it just goes to show anything can happen.
“Nels (Curtis Nelson) and Hally (Rob Hall) are great lads and it’s good news for Nels coming back, but I don’t know if Hally will make it back before the end of the season.
“Nels is a funny guy, we used to have our own little rivalry in training. He’s a bubbly character and a top professional. He does extra work off the field, sometimes a bit too much, but his heart and his head are completely in the right places.
“Hally’s got a bit of banter about him and he’s good to have about the dressing room. I keep in touch with Kane Hemmings as well who’s out on loan at Mansfield Town now. We’re all in a little Whatsapp group together with Marvin Johnson who moved to Middlesbrough in the summer. We check in each week and see how each other’s doing.
“I was close to Wes Thomas as well and a lot of the younger lads, we were a close-knit group.”
WE’RE INTO THE FINAL FIVE GAMES OF THE SEASON NOW AND EVERYONE IS VERY FOCUSED ON ACHIEVING THE GOAL OF PROMOTION, HOW GOOD HAVE THE MANAGER AND HIS COACHING STAFF BEEN IN KEEPING THAT CONCENTRATION IN THE SQUAD?
“Nothing has been achieved yet. We’re in a great position with five games to go and have a very good chance of getting promoted, but as the gaffer always says, we just keep going and concentrate on each game as it comes.
“We’ve kept a lot of clean sheets this season and scored a lot of goals, but if we finish in third place then those numbers won’t count for very much at all.
“It’s all about how we play, it always has to be and if we continue to play the way we have done recently then we know we’ve got a great chance of winning every single game before now and the end of the season, because that’s our target.”
SPEAKING OF SCORING GOALS, YOURSELF AND DAN BURN SEEM TO HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF A COMPETITION GOING FROM YOUR CELEBRATION WHEN HE SCORED AGAINST ROCHDALE LAST WEEK.
“No, no, no, it’s not a rivalry. I was explaining this to Sam Morsy last week, any time Dan has an achievement, it’s my achievement as well.
“We share achievements. I got Player of the Month last month, so he got it as well because we’re a good partnership at the back. I have a little joke with him about the goals, but I’m a bit worried he might catch me.
“In all seriousness I’m buzzing for Dan. At the start of the season we had a discussion about our targets for the season. First and foremost we want to keep as many clean sheets as possible to give the other lads the confidence to push on and score the goals, but because we’re big lads and we fancy ourselves to add to the tally, he did say to me that he wanted five goals this season.
“He’s achieved that and I’m buzzing that he’s scoring because at the end of the day if we can chip in together it adds to the team’s goal tally and it helps the boys, not that they need help because they can’t stop scoring goals anyway.
“It’s a good little competition between me and Dan, but at the end of the day he’s had a phenomenal season and he deserves every credit that he gets.”