After fighting off relegation last term, Wigan Athletic have enjoyed a positive start to the 2021/22 season.
This is thanks in part to six different goal scorers getting on the score sheet to date, as well as returning 23 goals from last year in the form of Will Keane (11), Callum Lang (9) and Curtis Tilt (3). Tilt is back with Wigan for a third consecutive loan spell after the defender was granted permission to leave Rotherham United earlier this month. Already this season, Lang (2) and Kean (1) are on the score sheet followed by a goal apiece from Tendayi Darikwa, Stephen Humphrys, James McClean and Gwion Edwards.
Here are your ones to watch:
The Latics skipper is a right back with plenty of experience. The Zimbabwe international has been capped on double-digit occasions for his country. He began his senior career with Chesterfield, where he spent five years which included loan spells with Barrow and Hinckley United.
Before arriving to the DW Stadium in January 2021, Darikwa spent four years with his hometown club Nottingham Forest, appearing in more than 50 games. Originally signing a short-term contract with the Latics, he inked a two-year deal with the club in July. In his career, Darikwa has appeared in more than 200 EFL contests. He leads the team this season with 15 interceptions and 10 tackles won.
Made his way to the DW Stadium after season-long stints with Southend United (2019/20) and Rochdale (2020/21). He began his senior career at Fulham, after also spending three years in the club’s youth system.
He scored 11 goals in a struggling Rochdale side seeing action in 29 games across all competitions.
In May 2019, it was Humphrys’ goal off the bench in a 2-1 win for Southend over Sunderland that saved the club from relegation to Sky Bet League Two. This season, the Oldham-born striker has registered a goal and an assist in six appearances. He’s taken a team-high 12 shots and averages 2.17 shots on target every 90 minutes.
Will Keane is a player that’s seen time with numerous clubs on several loan spells, while seemingly making a home for himself at the DW Stadium since his arrival a season ago.
In 2020/21, Keane led Wigan with 11 goals scored across all competitions – all of those coming in Sky Bet League One. His instant impact for the Latics was also felt as he chipped in with four assists.
The former Manchester United academy product already has a goal to his name and has hit the woodwork three times while also seeing one shot saved. His pass completion of 78% adds to his 39 per cent duels won average. Internationally, Keane has represented England with each of the U16, U17, U19 and U20 teams. He began his extensive senior career with Manchester United, spending five years with his parent club, and serving four different loan spells in that time – including Wigan in 2013.
Ireland international James McClean arrived to the DW Stadium in August, after spending the three previous seasons with Stoke City in the EFL Championship. This is his second spell with Wigan Athletic, previously spending two years (2013-15) with the Latics, scoring nine goals in 73 appearances on that occasion.
A player with Premier League experience (scoring seven goals in two seasons at Sunderland from 2011-13), McClean already has a goal from his three shots on target that goal came in a 2-0 win over Charlton. He leads the team with a 75% shots on-target average, in addition to winning three tackles and picking up a pair of interceptions on the campaign.