With the new season less than two weeks away, Wigan Athletic are available at odds of 20/1 with bet365 bookmakers to win League One next term. That looks to be a bet for diehard fans only with the club currently still in the hands of the administrators, just as their self-imposed deadline passes.
The Latics are 13/2 with Betfair Sportsbook to win promotion, which again looks risky the longer the club has to wait for new ownership.
In reality, the 5/2 with bet365 on Wigan to be relegated looks the bet to be on as things stand, although even for that to happen Wigan first need to secure that new ownership.
As any serious punter knows, not all the bookmakers are regulated. Fortunately, all the major online bookies are fully regulated and can be trusted. As Wigan supporters know only too well, that same level of scrutiny doesn’t apply to club ownership.
The deal that saw the ownership of Wigan switch from International Entertainment Corporation (IEC) to the Cayman Islands-based Next Leader Fund (NLF) led to the club entering administration within a month, suffering a 12-point penalty and subsequent relegation from the Championship as a consequence.
Wigan squad by numbers
The current first team squad players and their respective numbers are an indication of problems at the DW stadium, with just 11 names on the books.
Goalkeepers Jamie Jones and Owen Evans are allocated the numbers 23 and 40 respectively, defenders Nathan Byrne, Tom Pearce and Cédric Kipré are numbers 2, 12 and 21, midfielders Sam Morsy, Lee Evans, Gavin Massey and Kai Naismith have been allocated numbers 5, 8, 11 and 33, while forwards Josh Windass and Joe Garner are numbers 10 and 14.
Of those remaining players, Kipré and Windass look set for moves to West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield Wednesday respectively, while Pearce is said to be interesting Bristol City. That will leave an awful lot of squad numbers vacant.
Caretaker manager Leam Richardson’s squad has already been decimated by a steady flow of departures over the past month or so, with the likes of Kieffer Moore (Cardiff City); Antonee Robinson (Fulham); Joe Gelhardt (Leeds United); Jamal Lowe (Swansea City); Jensen Weir (Brighton & Hove Albion); Joe Williams (Bristol City); David Marshall (Derby County); Leon Balogun (Rangers); Chey Dunkley (Sheffield Wednesday); Daniel Gyollai (Peterborough United) and Lewis McLeod (Plymouth Argyle) all leaving the club, in many cases for far less than their true market value.
In addition, Callum Lang is on loan at Motherwell for the season, last season’s loanees have all returned to their parent clubs and several other players have been released.
That perennial favourite player of pre-season friendlies, ”Trialist”, featured four times in the Latics’ starting XI in the impressive 3-2 victory at Bradford City recently.
At the time of writing, the signs look encouraging as to new ownership coming in. That could be good news for some of those players listed as ”Trialist” too, with plenty of squad numbers that need to be assigned before the new campaign starts.