A Peterborough United fan’s view of Callum Elder

Wigan Athletic have announced the signing of the 22-year-old Australian left back Callum Elder on a season-long loan from Leicester City. Elder has a contract with the Foxes until June 2019.

On signing for Latics Elder said “I spoke to the gaffer last week and he was really interested in bringing me in and for me to be a big part in his plans. I can’t wait to get started. I’m a left full back and an athletic player who likes to get up and down the flank and bring a real energy to the team, which is what the gaffer says he wants.”

Callum Elder was born in Sydney but went to Leicester City as a 16-year-old. In January 2015 Elder went on  a short-term loan to Mansfield Town which was to be extended until the end of the season, making 21 appearances. In August 2015 he joined Peterborough United, his loan being cut short in December due to a foot injury. He had made 18 league appearances and scored one goal.

In July 2016 Elder joined Championship side Brentford on a season-long loan. Although a regular in the opening games of the season, a knee injury was later followed by a thigh injury and he returned to Leicester in mid-December for treatment. Elder went back to Brentford in mid-January for a couple of weeks, but was recalled by Leicester, then sent to Barnsley for another loan. He had made 6 appearances for the midland club, going on to make 3 for Barnsley.

Elder has represented Australia at U20 level.

In order to learn more about Elder we reached out to Peterborough fan, John Verrall (@JohnVerrall).

Here’s over to John:

Callum Elder should be a great addition. He is the best left-back we have had a Posh since Darragh MacAnthony became owner and a stand out player at League One level.

Elder possesses great attacking ability, and he tirelessly creates an option down the left-side. In offensive positions, he has an excellent delivery and also showed enough trickery to get past a player.

Defensively, too, he is strong and he rarely was beaten by an opposition winger.

I believe he struggled on loan at Barnsley last term, but in League One he will be one of the best left-backs in the division. 

 

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A Portsmouth fan’s view of Noel Hunt

Wigan Athletic today announced the signing of 34-year-old striker Noel Hunt on a one year contract. The 5 ft 8 in tall Irishman was a free agent who spent last season at Portsmouth.

Following the announcement of Hunt’s signing Paul Cook said: “Noel is a top pro whose experience, commitment and quality has already started rubbing off on the squad. He’s a player who trains as he plays, at 100% level, and he will make a significant contribution on and off the field.”

Noel Hunt was born in Waterford and joined Dublin club Shamrock Rovers as an 18-year-old. He was soon to be loaned out to Waterford United where he went on to score 5 goals in 9 appearances. Hunt went on to make 25 appearances for Rovers, scoring 11 goals.

Hunt signed for Dunfermline Athletic in January 2003 for £100,000. He spent three years there, injuries limiting him to making 80 appearances, scoring 8 goals, before moving to Dundee United for £50,000. He went on to make 64 appearances, scoring 23 goals in two years. In July 2008 Hunt was transferred to Reading for £600,000. He went on to spend five years there, making 145 appearances, scoring 33 goals.

Hunt left Reading as a free agent in July 2013 after they had been relegated from the Premier League to re-join Brian McDermott who had taken over at Leeds United. In November 2014, he joined Ipswich Town on a short-term loan. Hunt’s time at Leeds had been blighted by injuries and he made 22 appearances, without scoring a goal, before terminating his contract by mutual agreement in January 2015. He then went back to Ipswich but was released at the end of the season, after scoring 2 goals in 7 appearances. He went on to play for Southend in 2015-16, making 21 appearances, scoring 4 goals. Last season, on a one-year contract at Portsmouth, he scored 1 goal in 20 appearances.

In order to learn more about Hunt’s time at Portsmouth we contacted Jim Bonner  (@FrattonFaithful) of the Fratton Faithful fan site.

Here’s over to Jim:

Noel Hunt will be a positive influence off the pitch. His experience will be valuable to some of the younger players and he was popular amongst Pompey fans last season for his attitude and willingness to talk to fans. I suspect he has signed with a view to be having some coaching role when he retires in the next year or two.

However, in terms of on the pitch contribution he only scored once for us (a tap in against the nine men of Mansfield) and barely saw any playing time in League Two, so he is likely to have even less of an impact on a team pushing for promotion in League One, although his willingness to run around despite his age does give him some nuisance value up front. 

If he has signed to be a replacement for Omar Bogle, Wigan fans are going to be very disappointed. Hunt was a player all Pompey fans expected to leave this summer regardless of who the manager was.

 

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A Wolves fan’s view of Lee Evans

Photo courtesy of Wigan Athletic.

A few days ago we published a Bradford City fan’s view of Lee Evans. Since then we have been in contact with Tom Baugh of the Wolves Blog (http://www.wolvesblog.com/)

Evans can be expected to be a key player for Latics this season in a midfield holding role. On signing for Wigan he said:

“I am delighted to be here. It’s taken a couple of weeks to get everything sorted at both ends. I knew I didn’t really have a future this season at Wolves so to join a club like Wigan, who are pushing for promotion this season, is a perfect opportunity for me. It’s part of football, different managers have different opinions; under Paul Lambert I was playing quite a bit and he gave me a new contract but now the new manager has different ideas. That’s fine, they told me soon enough so I had plenty of time to get things sorted, I had plenty of options but I felt like Wigan was the best opportunity for me.”

The departure of Paul Lambert and the arrival of ex-Porto coach, Nuno Espirito Santo, saw the player move down the pecking order at Wolverhampton. The loan arrangement appears to be in the interests of both Latics and Evans.

Here’s over to Tom to tell us about Evans’ time at Wolves:

Lee Evans could easily have been lining up for Wolves this weekend. He’d probably fit nicely into our new 343 system. But we’ve shelled out £15 million on Ruben Neves from Porto and he’s found himself frozen out despite only signing a new contract a few months back. There’s probably not much between him and Jack Price who remains contention at Wolves, but we’ve got a bloated squad meaning someone had to go.

His obvious strength is an excellent passing range. He can ping accurate balls out wide for fun and deliver searching forward passes. He’s combative, decent in the tackle and can get forward to chip in with the odd goal.

I don’t think he’s particularly mobile. You’re certainly not going to see him going past players or embarking on mazy dribbles. He’ll hold a position and feed balls into attackers who can make something happen.

He did well in League One for Wolves and Bradford so it’s a no-brainer signing for Paul Cook. His quality at that level is undisputed. After we got promoted he was briefly instrumental in our Championship promotion push the following season but faded away.

If the plan is to get the ball on the deck and play, I think he’ll do very well for Wigan and with his best mate Michael Jacobs there I’m sure he’ll hit the ground running.

Best of luck for the season guys.

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A Bradford City fan’s view of Lee Evans

Photo courtesy of Wigan Athletic

Wigan Athletic yesterday announced the signing of the 23-year-old Lee Evans from Wolverhampton Wanderers on a season-long loan. The 6 ft 1 in tall Welshman is a central midfield player.

On signing Evans Latics manager Paul Cook said: “Lee’s a classy player and somebody who has been playing at a good level for a number of years. We do have a number of players in midfield at the moment but I feel you can never be too strong in that department, especially over the course of a season in which we’re going to play over 50 games. I am sure once he’s settled in, Lee is the type of player the fans will really warm to.”

Lee Evans was born in Newport and made his debut for his home town club as a 17 year old in March 2012. shortly after he went on to play in the FA Trophy Final in which Newport County were beaten 2-0 by York City. The following season he had made 23 appearances in the Football Conference before being signed by Wolves in January 2013.

Evans made his Football League debut for Wolves in August 2013, going on to make 28 appearances as the midland club went on to claim the League 1 title. In  August 2015 he went to Bradford City on loan, making 41 appearances and scoring 4 goals.

Evans has made 48 league starts for Wolves with 11 appearances as a substitute. He has made 13 appearances for Wales at U21 level.

In order to learn more about Evans time at Bradford we contacted Bantams’ fan Stuart Black (@blackmeister).

Here’s over to Stuart:

Lee Evans joined Bradford City on 20th August 2015 under Phil Parkinson.  We had made a poor start to the season and were playing two defenders in central midfield in Tony McMahon and Chris Routis and quite frankly it was very weak.  We took only 1 point from the first nine with defeats away at Swindon and at home to Gillingham and it was obvious to all that Central Midfield needed strengthening badly.

When Evans joined on loan from Wolves at least we had a square peg in a square hole and immediately our fortunes turned around.

In our first match we played away at a very good (and ultimately promoted) Barnsley and got a hard fought 0-0.  We then picked up 8 points from the next 4 games to get us to 12th. Evans had a big hand in the fact that by the end of November we had risen from 22nd to 6th in the table.

Evans has a lot of ability and can certainly find a pass. He has average pace but is physically strong albeit slightly reckless but will get you occasional goals.  He is not bad in the air which you would expect at 6’1 tall and can take a good set piece.

Bradford City hit a flat spot in November and drifted back towards mid table as Evans needed better quality next to him.  That quality arrived in early February when City signed Josh Cullen on loan from West Ham.  As a midfield pair they excelled and the team rose to 3rd in the league but ultimately failed in the play-offs when beaten by Millwall.

Lee Evans scored 4 goals for us in 2015-16 from 35 appearances with 3 assists.  He was only 21 at the time so should be stronger and wiser now. He got 9 yellow cards and 1 red in that same time but looks to have improved those figures in the Championship.

I suspect most Bradford City fans would still like him in the team as we look rather weak as a squad at the moment as we look to rebuild following our late Wembley defeat once again against Millwall and the subsequent loss of some of our better players to other clubs.

Best wishes for the new season to all Wigan supporters.

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A Luton Town fan’s view of Christian Walton

Wigan Athletic have announced the signing of Christian Walton from Brighton and Hove Albion on a season-long loan. The 6 ft 5 in tall goalkeeper is 21 years old and has represented England at U18, U19, U20 and U21 levels. He has recently signed a four year contract with the south coast club.

On signing Walton, Latics manager Paul Cook stated: “Following the departure of Matt Gilks it was clear we needed reinforcements in this area and Christian is one that we were keen to target. He had good experience in League Two and League One last season and has the potential to develop into a top goalkeeper.”

Christian Walton was born in Wadebridge, Cornwall, and came through the Plymouth Argyle youth system. He joined Albion as a 17 year old, going on to sign a professional contract in the summer of 2013. He made his senior debut in late October 2014 in a League Cup tie against Tottenham. Walton made his league debut against Uwe Rosler’s Latics less than a week later, to be followed by a start against Blackburn Rovers in the match following. He had to wait until the last game of the season to reappear when Albion played at Middlesbrough.

In summer 2015 Walton joined Bury on a season-long  loan, playing against Latics once more, this time at the DW Stadium in a League Cup match. However, the loan was cut short in early September, due to a groin injury. He had made 6 appearances. However, in November he was sent back to Plymouth on a short-term loan, making four appearances over a month.

Last season Walton joined Luton Town on a season-long loan, only to be recalled by Albion in January 2017. He had made 33 appearances for the Bedfordshire club, conceding the least number of goals in League 2 up to that point. In April he joined Southend United on a month-long loan, making 7 appearances.

In order to learn more about Christian we reached out on Twitter to fans of Luton Town, where he has played the majority of his first team football. Thanks to Danny B-D @dannybd85 and Andrew Kingston @treblethree for their responses to our questions that appear below.

Let’s start with Danny’s fan view:

What are his strengths and weaknesses as a keeper?

I’d say his strengths are his shot stopping, and one on one situations!

Weakness probably his distribution, his kicking was sometimes wayward from goal kicks if he went long, short was fine as we often played from the back last year! 

Sometimes he would come for a cross and either miss completely or get beaten to it in the air by an opposing player!

However I would say it was rare and I can only recall Stevenage and Portsmouth away where it cost us the game

How does he relate to the fans? Is he a team player? Does he show commitment?

He pretty much became a fans favourite very quickly! some saves he made early on went down very well with our supporters and a lot of us were gutted when Brighton activated the recall clause in his loan deal!

He was very much a team player and showed a good level of commitment whenever he played for Luton, and everybody was in agreement that he had improved massively over the 6 months or so he was with us.

We can expect possession football to return to Wigan under Paul Cook. How effective would he be building up moves from the back?

What you would need to remember is he is a young keeper and will make mistakes here and there, as mentioned above, his long kicking needs working on, and he came for crosses and didn’t always successfully catch the ball, but you will tell he’ll be a valuable asset to you.

As I said above he was used to playing out the back too, in fact we did vary the style a bit and as the season went on he certainly improved his overall game!

What kind of potential does he have? Would you have him back at Luton?

Well put simply, Brighton have just given him a 4 year contract so they clearly see a futurefor him, whether that be championship or premier league remains to be seen, I think premier league is achievable if he progresses as fast as he did with us last season.

I feel with regular game time at League One level will serve to improve him further and if he keeps moving up the divisions season by season I don’t see why he won’t be a regular in a premier league side, but there’s a longish way to go for him yet!

I would love to see him back at Luton one day, I am, like many town fans are, convinced we would’ve gone up automatically last season had he remained all season! 

No disrespect to Macey and Moore who were bought in to replace him but Walton was just a cut above both of them! 

You’ve got yourself a good young goalkeeper with bags of potential and I hope he continues to impress

Hope that helps, and good luck for the season!

 

Andrew’s fan view:

 What are his strengths and weaknesses as a keeper?

I must admit when we first got him I was worried about putting a young keeper in as our no.1 but he really surprised me at how mature his performances were, he is a good shot stopper and doesn’t let mistakes get to him, not that he made a lot of them. If I was going to be harsh I would say he could use his height better but that’s just looking for a weaknesses.

 How does he relate to the fans? Is he a team player? Does he show commitment?

He got on really well with the fans at Luton who took to him very early on, definitely a team player and was so committed to the club he even came back to watch our games after he left.

We can expect possession football to return to Wigan under Paul Cook. How effective would he be building up moves from the back ?

Nathan Jones likes to pass from the back which is one of the reasons he got Walton in at Luton, you shouldn’t have any problems with his distribution and he doesn’t tend to panic.

What kind of potential does he have? Would you have him back at Luton?

I think he has a lot of potential, to play as many games as he did and consistently perform so well is a great indication to the standard he is already at and I’m sure he will get even better. I would have loved him back at Luton and given how worried the fan base was when he left speaks volumes.

 Hope that helps, if he performs for Wigan like he did at Luton then you will love him.

 

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