Another Oxford United fan’s view of Chey Dunkley

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.

 
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An Oxford United fan’s view of Chey Dunkley

 

Wigan Athletic have announced the acquisition of central defender Chey Dunkley from Oxford United. Dunkley is a free agent and will formally join Latics when his contract expires at the end of June. The 25 year old Dunkley is 6 ft 2 in tall and made 52 appearances in all competitions for an Oxford side that finished 8th in League 1.

Cheyenne Armani Keayu Dunkley was born in Wolverhampton and was part of the Crewe Alexandra academy. As an 18 year old he was sent out on loan to Hednesford Town in 2010, going on to being signed on a permanent contract when Crewe released him. Dunkley went on to make 86 appearances in a three year stay at the Staffordshire club in the Northern Premier League.

In June 2012 he signed for Kidderminster Harriers of the Conference Premier League for a fee of £5,000 plus add-ons. He made 92 appearances, scoring  12 goals before going on loan to Oxford United in November 2014. Dunkley went on to sign for Oxford for an undisclosed fee. In April 2016 Dunkley scored an unfortunate own goal in the Football League Trophy final at Wembley when Oxford were beaten 3-2 by Barnsley. But in the next month he went on to score the first goal in a 3-0 victory against Wycombe Wanderers that gave United promotion to League 1. Dunkley went on to make  a total of 78 appearances for the Yellows, scoring 7 goals.

On announcing Dunkley’s arrival, Paul Cook said: “Chey has continued to develop his game year on year since he left Crewe after coming through their academy, learning the hard way in non-league and having his best season to date with Oxford United last year and playing over 50 games. He adds more quality to a strong defensive department.”

In  order to find out more about Dunkley’s time at Oxford we contacted Mark Lambourne of the Yellows Forum (yellowsforum.co.uk), together with fans David Mitson and Jamie Bowler through Twitter.

Mark commented that:

Dunkley is a great young player, still learning his trade. He is prone to mistakes, but can make up for these with some great challenges. He is a pretty good target in the box from set pieces, scoring some goals from these and also clearing the ball when defending.

Good luck to him, looking forward to seeing him play against us next season!

David Mitson @CrazyMitto said:

What can you say about Chey Dunkley?

Big heart,  big head and a big right boot. Old fashioned centre half. Chey only has one gear and its first gear. He may lack pace but you’ve got to get past him first. Always gives 100%. Chey will be missed. His header v Wycombe in the last game of the season when we gained promotion will always be remembered. Yes he can pass. He can also hoof it into row 67. He loves to score (7 for us) and gets v excited when he does.

Jamie Bowler @J_Bowler07 added:

Big centre back who would win headers all game as well as being a good defender all round. Struggled when the ball was at his feet and would often look the go long when pressure was put on. But as a person was in my opinion one of the most respected players and have back to the fans. Going to miss the lad.

 

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A Portsmouth fan’s view of Paul Cook

 

 Paul Cook – the right man for the job

As expected, the announcement came yesterday of the appointment of Paul Cook as manager of Wigan Athletic. He joins the list of ex-Latics players who have managed the club in recent years along with Gary Caldwell, Paul Jewell and Roberto Martinez, together with Graham Barrow in short term stints.

Cook’s  impressive track record as a manager is reflected in his stats:

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Following Cook’s appointment, chairman David Sharpe commented on the club’s official site that:

“Paul was the man that I felt was best to take this club forwards after looking at the jobs he has done at Chesterfield and Portsmouth in the last four seasons.He has won two promotions, has never been outside of the top six, has a 50% win ratio and also plays the brand of football that I think is the best for this football club. Moving forwards, I’ll be delighted to see Paul’s work in progress and I have a good feeling about it.”

Adding that:

“The man I met, in terms of his character and how lively and energetic he is, makes me believe he will be a lift for the whole place and I think we need that sort of character.He’s very bubbly, will have the boys playing with a smile on their faces and I am looking forward to what he will bring it.”

The social media and message boards have been awash with comments from Pompey fans regarding Cook’s departure with one year still remaining on his contract. The Portsmouth FC official site stated that:

“Paul Cook has stepped down as Pompey boss to take up the vacant managerial position at Wigan Athletic. A financial compensation agreement was reached with Wigan over the weekend, resulting in permission being granted for the Latics to speak to Paul. Assistant manager Leam Richardson has also left Fratton Park. Cook arrived at Pompey in May 2015 and led the club to the League Two play-offs in his first season in charge. There was even more success at the end of last term, with the Blues earning automatic promotion and securing the title on a dramatic final day. Portsmouth Football Club would like to thank Cook and Richardson for their service to the club. “

The likelihood is therefore that Richardson will be joining Cook at Wigan as his assistant.

The 37 year old Richardson, born in Leeds, began his playing career at Blackburn Rovers as a right back. He signed for Bolton Wanderers in July 2000 for a fee of £50,000. Loan spells followed at Notts County and Blackpool before the Tangerines signed him on a permanent contract. Richardson went on to make 71 appearances for Blackpool before joining Accrington Stanley in August 2005. He was to stay there for 8 years making 133 appearances. He took over as caretaker manager in January 2012 until Paul Cook took over a month later. When Cook left Accrington in October 2012, Richardson took over as manager. However, he was to join Chesterfield in May 2013 as Cook’s assistant manager, subsequently moving on to Portsmouth with him.

In order to get an overview of Paul Cook’s time at Portsmouth we contacted Jim Bonner  (@FrattonFaithful) of the Fratton Faithful fan site.

Here’s over to Jim:

There can be no disputing that Paul Cook is a good manager. After all, he won Portsmouth the League Two title by sticking to his principles and winning games in the right manner. However, it should be remembered that he delivered this league title when Pompey were favourites to win the division on goal difference from Plymouth and including an inexplicable collapse by Doncaster who lost all four of their final matches when they required just one.

Cook will have your team playing attractive, possession football and his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation means that the back four are well protected whilst the attacking midfield trio are free to attack and create chances for the lone striker. He is also an excellent motivator as rarely did Pompey lose more than a single consecutive game under his management and any bad performance was usually followed by a good one.

 His record in the transfer market was mixed. He has the eye for a quality player as proved in his first season with the Blues as he virtually rebuilt a poor squad and moulded it into a good one with signings like Christian Burgess, Enda Stevens and Gareth Evans proving to be shrewd. However, his second season saw him sign many players who either couldn’t get into the team or had their stays abruptly ended by either having their contracts terminated or being shipped out on loan. Milan Lalkovic must be secretly delighted that Cook has gone.

The negatives of Cook’s management is that whilst Plan A can work extremely well, he doesn’t have a Plan B. His stubborn attitude meant he would rarely stray from his 4-2-3-1 formation and when he did, the results and performances were worse! He also struggles to work out how to break down teams that will “park the bus” and play for a draw on home turf. Thus, you should prepare yourselves for grating post-match interview soundbytes such as “All credit to Shrewsbury, they’re an excellent team and had a gameplan which stopped us scoring. We go again next week.”

Whilst he may be good enough to get a squad of Wigan’s quality back up to the Championship, there is a feeling amongst people that he isn’t tactically smart enough or indeed professional enough to succeed at a higher level.

Cook also seems to struggle under pressure as he felt the heat with 16,000 expectant Pompey fans constantly scrutinising him as he occasionally lashed out at the media whilst having indirect digs at them. The crowds at the DW Stadium may be half the size of what he was used to at Fratton Park, but the expectation will be exactly he same and he may well feel the heat if the Latics fans aren’t happy with performances next season.

In a nutshell, it should speak volumes that the reaction of Pompey fans is anger at the manner he left rather than any kind of sorrow that the event even took place. He’s a good manager but there are arguably even better bosses that Portsmouth can attract to replace him with Kenny Jackett rumoured to take his place.

 

 

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Latics fans react to victory at Birmingham on social media

An opportunist goal from Dan Burn gave Wigan Athletic a much needed three points at St Andrews last night.With just ten games to go, Latics remain second from bottom, but they moved closer to the pack directly above them in the table, just one point behind Bristol City in 22nd place.

Warren Joyce fielded a much more positive lineup and Latics were lively in the first half before falling back in stubborn defence in the second.

It was an uplifting victory that keeps Wigan within range of escaping relegation. Saturday’s  home match against relegation rivals Bristol City is crucial.

Although delighted with the victory Latics fans are now wondering if their side can pull off another one in quick succession. Joyce’s less negative starting lineup, with Gabriel Obertan and Michael Jacobs playing wide and Alex Gilbey in advanced midfield produced a more attacking approach in the first half at least. However, to some extent it was forced on him by injuries and suspensions reducing his selection options. It is to be hoped that he will not once again resort to the ultra defensive approach we were seeing prior to the Birmingham match.

We took a look at the social media following yesterday’s match and came up with a wide range of views. Our thanks go to the Cockney Latic Forum, Vital Wigan – Latics Speyk Forum, The Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Facebook), Instagram and Twitter for providing the media for the posts below to happen.  Thanks go to all whose contributions are identified below.

 

Jeffs right responded to Whittleblue on Latics Speyk:

Hope not. Hope that Obertan is ready finally because at last we have a replacement for Yanic. Been crying out for a winger since he left. A winger with pace and who could supply decent passes over that period could have contributed so much over the last few weeks. At least 5 points lost there.

King_dezeeuw06 on Latics Speyk opined:

I think those are fair points Whittle i fear you may be right; we’ve seen so many false dawns over the years we’d be silly to get too carried away but we’ve also seen plenty of unlilely great escapes too so i dont want to not embrace the hope either.

Every revival has to start somewhere and I’m just hoping we have it in us. Looking at the form table Bristol and Wolves have fallen apart in recent weeks and Brum are in total free fall too. So i think there’s still plenty of twists and turns coming in the relegation battle i just dont know if it will be a happy ending or end in tears.

I’ve not got blind faith but I’ve got some hope back after last nights results so I’m going into Saturday cautiously optimistic.

Nathan Wilkinson on The Boulevard of Broken Dreams commented:

 It’s the hope that kills you.

 adding:

 Saturday now reminds me of 2010 home game against Burnley… loser goes down

 David Sharpe @DavidSharpe91 tweeted:

Congrats to the big man @Danburn3 on his 1st goal for the club & also @JoshLaurent37 on his debut. Them & all the lads were top draw tonight

JimmyC on the Cockney Latic Forum commented:

Good first half, deep and nervous in the second but great 3 points. Birmingham were rubbish ref was even worse. Even brum fans were calling him. Two centre backs were terrific again, solid back four. Gilbey looks good but not match fit, missed him! We were creating chances and looking like a team. More of the same and we just might stay up.

 True Believer on Latics Speyk said:

I am certainly not seeing any false dawns in last nights performance, we were indeed the better of two poor teams. The difference between the two being the defence. We were certainly no great shakes going forward but at the back we look tight. I am however rejoicing in the fact that we picked up 3 points whilst others around us dropped points. We can only hope that the result gives the squad a boost and helps to settle their nerves and improve the confidence. I will take scruffy results if it means we stay up, however I still think the manager needs to look at his squad and put out a team with positive intent against Bristol. Still Believing, Up the Tic’s

Stephen Warnock23 @StephenWarnock3 tweeted:

Congrats to @JoshLaurent37 making his debut tonight. Many more to follow I’m sure. Great to have @agilbey8 back. What a performance from him

 Leylandlatic4ever on the Cockney Latics Forum added:

An ugly win by all accounts but who cares, a win is a win…good stuff chaps
Shame the 3 B’s all got a point. Just makes Saturday’s game a step above a Must Win game! Win on Saturday we’ve still a real chance of staying up; lose and we’re in real sh!te, especially if the games in hand go against us.

Some frightening away games left…Newcastle, Brighton, Reading, Ipswich…some dodgy homes as well Villa, Barnsley, Leeds etc…

 SJL @Livesey99 tweeted:

Dead and buried on Saturday. Open mutiny in the stands and they go and pull that out of the bag tonight. That’s as Wigan as you’ll get

Blackmamba on the Cockney Latic Forum stated:

Bristol city game absolutely huge now. Biggest game for two seasons?!

 

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A Hartlepool United fan’s view of Josh Laurent

 

Few players could show as much delight as did Josh Laurent after signing for Wigan Athletic on the transfer window deadline day. The 21 year old, 6ft 2 in tall,  was signed from Hartlepool United for an undisclosed fee.

On signing the player Warren Joyce commented: “Josh is a player the club has been watching all season and we feel he has the potential to shine at a higher level of football, given the right environment and the time in which to develop.  He’s a powerful, ball-playing midfielder and we welcome him to the squad.”

Joshua Ishaele Jacob-Heron Hunt-Laurent was born in Leytonstone. After playing for the Wycombe Wanderers youth team he joined the Queens Park Rangers academy in the summer of 2012.  He went on to make 20 appearances for the QPR youth team that won the Professional Development U18 League 2 title for 2012-13. In February 2014 Laurent was sent on a short term  loan to Conference Premier club Braintree Town. He went on to make 16 appearances before returning to QPR in mid-April.

Other than his spell on loan Laurent had played for the development squad until January 2015 when he signed for Brentford for an undisclosed fee. Laurent’s departure caused a reaction from QPR fans, frustrated by the club’s reluctance to give their young talent a chance. He went on to make one senior appearance for the Bees, in a League Cup game against Oxford United in August 2015. Just eight days later he was on a short term loan at Newport County, making his Football League debut in a home defeat by Leyton Orient. Laurent went on to make three more appearances before being recalled to Brentford in mid-October.

In February 2016 Laurent joined Hartlepool United on a free transfer. He went on to make 24 starts and 9 substitute appearances for the north east club, scoring one goal.

In order to find out more about Laurent’s time at Victoria Park we contacted Hartlepool fan @LordSmythe through Twitter.

Here’s over to Lord:

After a difficult start Josh showed what he was capable of and finally his efforts on the training ground were rewarded with a first team call up putting in some impressive displays which obviously caught the eye from clubs including Wigan Athletic.

Despite limited (league) appearances (28) Josh’s ability to cover ground in a stylish attacking midfielder role, comfortable in possession, a “baller” with potential to score goals made him a favourite with the fans an acquisition to any side.

He has the ability to do well at a higher level and everyone at Hartlepool United I’m sure wish Josh all the best for the future with The Latics …. from one blue & white shirt to another eh?

Certainly Pools loss and Latics gain.

 

Laurent goal after 43 seconds.

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