The arrival of Chey Dunkley at Wigan certainly has the fans talking. Some initially thought of him as a squad player, but is a player who played over 50 games last season likely to be merely warming the bench?
Dunkley was usually employed on the right hand side of central defence at Oxford, with ex-Plymouth defender Curtis Nelson on the left. Craig Morgan too is more of a right sided central defender, as is Jack Hendry. Last season the position on the left side of Wigan’s defence was usually taken up by the left footed Dan Burn, with Jake Buxton also able to perform comfortably there. Burn was excellent last season and that, together with a wealth of experience in the second tier, could make him a prime target for Championship clubs. It has already been rumoured that Burton Albion want Buxton to return there eight years since he left to go to join Nigel Clough at Derby County. With Clough now at Burton and the player’s salary being a factor, Latics might well release the 32 year old.
We have had mixed messages from David Sharpe in recent weeks about keeping the nucleus of last season’s squad together. However, David Perkins has since signed an extended contract for another year. It could be viewed as a gamble, since Perkins is now 35 and had injury problems last season. However, the experience of players like Perkins and Morgan will be important if Paul Cook decides to build for the future by putting the accent on youth as far as new signings are concerned. Latics have also been linked with Remy Streete, a 22 year old central defender from Port Vale, a free agent.
There has been no news from the club about an agreement with Wigan-born Jordan Flores over a new contract. The new Wigan Athletic website was put up yesterday, but Flores did not appear with the other names in the first team squad.
Yesterday we published fan views on Chey Dunkley, but since then we received another one through the fan site Yellow Army (www.yellowarmy.co.uk). We have Thom Airs to thank for his comments below:
Chey was signed from Kidderminister Harriers and was very raw when he arrived. However, under the guidance of Michael Appleton he quickly became one of our key players.
He is athletic, brave and very good in the air. For a long time our attacking corner routine revolved around trying to tee up one of his bullet headers. He was slightly unlucky not to have scored more goals from attacking set pieces.
Off the pitch he’s clearly intelligent, hard working and very driven to improve.
That said, he’s not an elegant ball-playing defender. His distribution and control can let him down at crucial moments.
I think almost every Oxford fan would’ve preferred to keep him, but he was obviously intent on leaving for reasons that aren’t entirely clear.