The season is over, Will Grigg is on fire and we are awaiting Wigan Athletic’s annual retained list. Whilst it’s assumed Haris Vuckic has played his last match in a Wigan shirt, the future of our two other loanees Stephen Warnock and Conor McAleny hang in the balance. Personally I hope we try our best to bring both of them in, especially Warnock who is out of contract at Derby County this summer.
Without further ado, here’s my take on what this year’s retained list should look like…
Jussi Jaaskelainen (keep) – He, like Richard O’Donnell, endured a poor first few months. The eventual decision to stick with Jussi following the constant switching of goalkeeper was a decisive moment in my eyes. The 41 year old is used to playing every week and once he was given a run in the team he showed his quality. With that in mind, why wouldn’t we give Jaaskelainen a crack at the Championship?
Lee Nicholls (end of contract) – Lee joined Latics straight from playing Sunday League football simply because the club were desperate for a young ‘keeper. Alex Cribley was watching his son play one day, saw Nicholls perform well, and soon after he was our Reserves first choice goalie – earning plenty of praise for his performances. His progress has arguably taken a step back in the past couple of years and after a poor display on the final day vs Barnsley, now is probably time to shake hands and wish him all the best in the rest of his career.
Reece James (loan/sell) – One of the worst players during this campaign for me. Definition of the word liability. Scored a good goal in a 3-1 win over Chesterfield, however I remember his ground crosses and sideways passing much more vividly.
Andy Kellett (keep) – Impressed me whenever he’s played, both at full back and as an attacking midfielder. Ostracised during the second half of the campaign but I’m confident the 22 year old will do a job for us if called upon in the Championship.
Craig Morgan (keep) – Expecting another solid campaign from Captain Morgan next season. Championship clubs were tracking him last summer for a reason.
Jason Pearce (keep) – Hoping we bring in another central defender so we aren’t reliant on Pearce playing each week, however he will be a good squad player nonetheless.
Reece Wabara (keep) – Fought hard to earn himself a new contract which will surely be agreed with him in the coming weeks. Has the look of Emmerson Boyce running down that right flank in his prime. Mr Reliable just as Boycey was.
Leon Barnett (end of contract) – Struggled to fit into Caldwell’s style of play and has looked dodgy on the ball especially at the DW. A shining light under Owen Coyle’s time as manager who has since faded.
Donervon Daniels (keep) – As with Perkins, many were unsure of what to expect from a player who was at Blackpool the season before. Daniels improved as time went on and his pace was invaluable when playing with three central defenders.
Kevin McNaughton (end of contract) – Turns 34 in August and will mark 12 months since suffering an injury that cut short his season just as it begun. Didn’t show enough to warrant an additional year on his contract in League One, never mind the Championship.
Jordan Flores (loan) – Needs a full season at a lower league club in my opinion. Staying at Latics next season in order to be the team’s last resort midfielder does nobody any favours. But before all that Flores will need to put pen to paper on a new contract.
Tim Chow (keep) – As long as the powers that be don’t continue their hapless efforts to turn Chow into a wing back, he should stay. Tim has performed well in midfield whenever called upon and is the go to man for topping up energy levels in midfield during the final 10-20 minutes of matches.
Ryan Colclough (keep) – Surprise buy in January but has shown himself to be a handful for full backs and scored 10 goals during the 2015-16 season (including eight for Crewe). One for the future as long as he doesn’t run into anymore trouble with the police.
Emyr Huws (sell) – Can look to recoup much of the transfer fee we paid to Man City for his services in 2014, especially if Huws manages to play a part in Wales reaching the knockout stages of Euro 2016 this summer.
Michael Jacobs (keep) – Impressive goals per minute ratio in 2015-16 for a midfielder. Has previous experience of the second tier with Derby, Wolves and Blackpool which will help.
Chris McCann (keep) – Hoping that McCann signs a new contract this summer. He’s impressed wherever the gaffer has played him this season which is testament to the player he is, albeit a division below where he usually plies his trade.
Yanic Wildschut (keep) – Balancing his football career well alongside ostrich racing. The ability to use Yanic as an impact sub is the perfect scenario as it’s expected Latics will sign another winger to challenge the current wide players for a spot in the starting 11.
Max Power (keep) – Struggled early on as expected following his move from Tranmere last summer. Obvious question marks over whether Power can jump up another league after playing for a team relegated from League Two in 2014-15. Regardless, Max is worth having at least as a squad player because of his performances on nights out round Wigan.
Ryan Jennings (end of contract/loan) – Saw his debut for Grimsby earlier this year when he struggled to cope with the physical and direct nature of Conference football. To be fair to him, playing in a good League One team he would probably do fairly well as he has shown whenever playing for Latics in pre-season. Either agree a new two year contract and send Jennings back out on loan in League Two or offload completely.
Sam Morsy (keep) – Shown himself to be a quality central midfielder on the whole, although has a tendency to let himself down with poor discipline at times. As with Power, I’m unsure on whether he can make the step up to play in the second tier.
David Perkins (keep) – Every time someone makes a joke about David Perkins running/jogging somewhere, a kitten dies. Consistent performer ever since Coventry on the opening day and will again be key to our success next season.
Sanmi Odelusi (offload) – Not good enough and never will be.
Will Grigg (keep) – Grigg has been on fire in League One and to a certain extent I’m backing him to carry his form into next season.
Craig Davies (keep) – Every team needs a big striker who can come on in the second half and cause a few problems (and yes I’m referring to Davies as someone I think does that).