It was announced today that Wigan Athletic have completed the signing of free agent, Craig Davies, previously of Bolton Wanderers.
The 6 ft 2 in centre forward is 29 years old. He has played for Wales at all age levels, including five caps for the senior squad. Davies started as a youth player at Manchester City before joining Oxford United as an 18 year old. From 2004-06 he was to make 48 appearances, scoring 8 goals, while the club was in League 2.
In January 2006 he signed for Hellas Verona of Serie B for a fee of £85,000. Sadly he could not adapt to the culture change and only made one appearance, returning to England on loan with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Championship. He was a regular starter for Wolves until they signed Andy Keogh in January 2007. Davies was to leave Wolves at the end of the season, having made 23 appearances, his only goals being one in a 2-2 FA Cup home draw with Oldham, followed by another in the 2-0 replay victory.
Curiously Davies was to join Oldham in the summer of 2007 to play in League 1. After regularly challenging for a first team place in his first season, he went through a 10 game goalless streak at the beginning of 2008-09, leading Oldham to send him out on loan to Stockport County, also in League 1 at the time. He scored 5 goals in 8 appearances before returning to Oldham. He had made 44 appearances for Oldham, scoring 10 goals before being sold to Brighton in January 2009.
Davies could not establish himself with the Seagulls and went on loan periods at Yeovil and Port Vale before joining Chesterfield in the summer of 2011. Davies’ 23 goals in 41 appearances were to help the Spireites win the League 2 title.
Davies was snapped up by Barnsley in the summer of 2012 and went on to make 60 appearances for the Tykes over the next two years, scoring 19 goals. His second season had been hampered by a hamstring injury. Bolton Wanderers paid £300,000 for his services in January 2013 and Davies went on to make 35 starts for them with 19 appearances off they bench, scoring 10 goals. He was loaned to Preston in January 2014, where he scored 5 goals from 13 starts and 3 substitute appearances.Last season he struggled once again with his hamstring injury and was not offered a new contract.
In order to learn more about Davies’ time at Bolton we reached out to Chris Mann of the Burnden Aces fan site http://www.burndenaces.co.uk (Twitter @BurndenAces )
So here’s over to Chris:
Wigan Athletic today completed the free signing of Craig Davies, seven days after his contract at Bolton came to an end.
Davies joined Wanderers in a £300,000 transfer from Barnsley in January 2013 and went on to score a total of 11 goals in 58 appearances for the Trotters, prior to his release.
Whilst those statistics may not look too appetising, it’s worth noting that 31 of those outings were from the substitutes’ bench.
Davies was a hugely popular figure amongst Bolton supporters, with his never-say-die attitude and willingness to put his body on the line earning him many plaudits, although it wasn’t until Neil Lennon’s arrival as manager in October 2014 that we began to see the best of what he had to offer.
All of a sudden, Davies became a focal point of the Bolton attack and was producing arguably the best form of his career – including a Man of the Match display in a 3-1 win over Latics at Macron Stadium.
Then, in a cruel twist of fate, he was struck down by three separate hamstring injuries that restricted him to just three starts after the turn of the year.
The club weighed up whether to offer him a fresh deal, but financial restraints at the present time meant it made little business sense to take a risk on an injury-prone player and Davies was an unfortunate victim of the cost-cutting measures currently in place.
If he can put his fitness issues behind him, Davies has the ability to be one of the Championship’s top players. However, inconsistent form and the amount of time he spends in the treatment room has stopped him from fulfilling his undoubted potential.
If you can get 20+ games out of him next season, Wigan will have got themselves a good player who is more than capable of scoring the goals to get you out of the division at the first attempt.
With all those aforementioned worries, though, it would be unwise to pin all hopes on him, so I’d be expecting Gary Caldwell to bring in at least one more striker during the summer transfer window.