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 Doncaster fan’s view of Reece Wabara

Reece Wabara. Photo courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Reece Wabara.
Photo courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Yesterday Wigan Athletic announced the signing of 24 year old Reece Wabara. He has signed a short term contract to the end of the current season. He was a free agent, his contract at Barnsley having expired at the end of December.

The 5 ft 11 12 in defender was born in Bromsgrove and played at Walsall’s School of Excellence until joining Manchester City as a 15 year old. He became captain of the City under 16 team and progressed to become a regular starter in their Elite Development Squad. Wabara made a first team debut for City in the last match of the 2010-11 season, coming on a substitute for Pablo Zabaleta against Bolton Wanderers. He left City by mutual consent in April 2014.

During his time with City Wabara had loan spells at Ipswich, Oldham, Blackpool and Doncaster. He was to return to Doncaster on a short term contract after leaving Manchester City. He made 43 appearances for Rovers in 2014-15, before moving on to another short term contract at Barnsley, where he made 19 appearances.

Wabara clearly looks an excellent signing for Gary Caldwell who has been anxious to strengthen the problematic right back/right wing back position.

In order to learn more about Wabara we contacted the Doncaster Rovers unofficial twitter fan site (@Donny_Rovers).

Here’s over to them:

Football is in Reece Wabara’s blood; his uncle is the former Rangers’ icon Mark Walters. Unlike his uncle, Reece is more of an attacking fullback rather than an attacking midfielder. However, this hasn’t stopped him from posing a similar attacking threat. Furthermore, he is a very versatile player that has been deployed as a right-back, centre-back and even right winger during his time at Rovers.

The first time I saw Wabara play was actually for Oldham Athletic against my Rovers and on that day he was fantastic; marauding down the right, utilising his pace and strength to power past our left back on the overlap. Back then he was a young and raw footballer but nowadays his performances are more measured. Since his Oldham performance I have witnessed him playing over 50 times for Rovers, once on loan and once as a permanent signing. Despite his final ball being much improved and racking up a few assists, he still doesn’t have enough final product to be a championship level player, scoring only 2 goals in his entire professional career.

Although, I must admit he is definitely a decent acquisition at this level as he retains possession well and is good on the ball. Where Reece falls down most is defensively; as a one on one defender he is quite poor and his positioning is often questionable. Luckily, his blistering pace is a useful tool to have in these scenarios and I, myself, have witnessed him recover well from many predicaments he’s left himself in.

In terms of attitude, he seems like a genuine bloke and a hard worker that wouldn’t upset or destabilise the dressing room; then again, he didn’t endear himself to any Rovers fans when he slated the club’s ambition (having left us) in an interview for our South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley. So don’t be surprised if he doesn’t sign a long term deal at the end of the season.

All in all, I wouldn’t mind seeing him back at Donny, if it weren’t for his comments, because he is definitely a good squad player to have in this division. The reason I say squad player and not first team player is because against the top teams I’d be tempted to put in a more defensively minded player. Plus, who’s to say he won’t develop into an even better player than he already is as after all, he is only 24.

A Blackpool fan’s view of David Perkins

Yesterday Wigan Athletic announced the impending signing of David Perkins from Blackpool. Perkins is a 32 year old central midfield player who has just completed his second season with the Tangerines. The 5 ft 6 in Perkins is to sign a one year contract.

Perkins is from Heysham and began his career at Morecambe at the age of 18. He was to spend seven years with the Shrimps making 176 appearances in the Conference before joining League 2 Rochdale in 2007. He went on to make 58 appearances for Rochale before joining Colchester United for a six figure fee in July 2008.

In the 2009-10 season manager Aidy Boothroyd loaned Perkins out, first to Chesterfield where he made 13 appearances, then to Stockport County where he made 22. John Ward’s arrival as manager at Colchester in the summer of 2010 saw Perkins blossom and have an outstanding season, making 40 appearances and receiving the Player of the Season and Players Player of the Season awards.

After 79 appearances over three seasons at Colchester he moved to Barnsley as a free agent in the summer of 2011, rejoining his ex Rochdale manager Keith Hill. On a visit to Charlton in October 2012 he was dubbed ”Barnsley Boris” by the home fans, his blonde hair reminiscent of that of the Mayor of London. Perkins was to make 69 appearances in  two and a half years playing for Barnsley in the Championship. In January 2014 he joined Blackpool on a free transfer. He made 64 appearances before being released this month.

In order to learn more about Perkins’ time at Blackpool we reached out to Phil at the AVFTT Blackpool fan site. AVFTT started out as a fanzine in 1996 and transferred to the Web in 2000. It has been going in various forms for the last 15 years and is now part of the FansNetwork group of websites.

The fan view below is also to be found on the avftt.co.uk site:

“He could do a job in League One” – probably the worst compliment anyone could pay a player who’s been plying his trade in the Championship for the last two seasons! However, that seems to have been the general consenus about David Perkins who was released by Blackpool officially yesterday and has been ‘snapped up’ by Wigan Athletic today.

When he first arrived at Bloomfield Road, many remembered him as the combative midfielder who had often been a thorn in the side when we’d played his former club Barnsley and whilst there wasn’t much around him when he arrived, it’s fair to say that in his time under Barry Ferguson he was one of the few players who could hold his head high at the end of the season. Therefore, much was expected of Perkins last season – few would say he delivered.

Maybe the biggest indictment on Perkins only full season in a tangerine shirt was that he only missed one game all season and yet only saw us win 4 games. In fact in his 64 games in a tangerine shirt he only enjoyed 7 victories – ironically one of which was against Wigan. At 5’6″, and through not fault of his own, many a game was spent chuckling as our keeper delivered a high ball in to midfield and Perkins failed to get within a foot of it! If he was a confidence player, then his confidence was shot at Blackpool. Quite often he’d do the hard work winning possession in midfield, only to give the ball straight back to the opposition. You could never question his commitment but too many times he fell short in the talent department.

At least he was one of few ‘recognisable’ players in the Blackpool team last season who you didn’t have to squint at in order to see who he was and we’ll see on at least two occasions next season if it was just the curse of the tangerine shirt which turned him in to a very average Championship player or if he excels as a League One player at Wigan.

Barnsley Preview – The Pressure is on


Fresh from their hard-earned FA Cup victory at Cardiff, Wigan Athletic are due to entertain Barnsley tomorrow in their 43rd game of the season. What’s more is that three difficult away games follow for Rosler’s men who seek promotion to the Premier League and further progress in the Cup.

At first glance Barnsley at home does not appear to be the most difficult task ahead. Owen Coyle enjoyed his most successful result at Wigan after giving the Tykes a 4-0 hammering on the first day of the season. Barnsley remain anchored in the bottom three with only one away win all season.  A win for Latics would appear a formality.

However, Uwe Rosler’s side have not performed well against teams closer to the lower end of table. The elation of away wins at promotion-chasing Derby and Reading has been tempered by defeats at Doncaster and Huddersfield.  Moreover it will be Wigan’s fifth match in eighteen days in the month of February. The victory at Cardiff means that the difficult home match against league leaders Leicester City will have to be rearranged, creating even more fixture congestion.

But thanks to some astute dealings in the loan and transfer market Rosler has a strong and well balanced squad at his disposal. The German has already shown that he can successfully operate a rotation policy, achieving results. The quality in depth within the squad is such that Rosler could choose an entirely different starting eleven tomorrow and still have a good chance of beating Barnsley.

Rosler wisely rested the dependable Leon Barnett on Saturday. The ex-Norwich man has played 40 matches so far this season, much more than any other player. However, the lack of cover for the central defensive positions has now been alleviated by the signing of Markus Holgerrson and the return from injury of Ivan Ramis and Thomas Rogne. Given that strength in numbers Rosler might be tempted to play a backline of three, especially against teams whose main mode of play is putting high balls into the box. Moreover it would free up Emmerson Boyce and Jean Beausejour to play in their best positions as wing backs.

Following a successful return at Cardiff, Ramis will be rested tomorrow. Rosler has already said that the Spaniard is not yet up to playing more than one game a week. Barnett will almost certainly return, but Boyce is likely to be rested, meaning a possible debut for Holgerrson, although Rogne is also a possibility. Rosler has also talked about giving Lee Nicholls a chance and this might be the one for the young goalkeeper.

Ben Watson went off injured at Cardiff, but James McArthur will be ready to return. Josh McEachran will be pushing for a start in midfield, as will Roger Espinoza.

Both Martyn Waghorn and Nicky Maynard are due to return after being cup-tied and fans will be hoping that Nick Powell is fit after missing the last five matches. Although still only 19 years old, Powell has started in 25 matches this season and come off the bench in five, scoring 10 goals. Rosler is aware of the physical demands on the young man and will try to get the best use out of the highly talented player, without overstretching him.

With tricky away matches at Brighton and Nottingham Forest looming, Latics will be keen to claim the three points available from the Barnsley game. Rosler is looking at an average of two points per game until the end of the regular season to get in to a playoff berth. Failure to beat Barnsley would make that difficult over the three league games which precede the FA Cup 6th round match at Manchester City.

The pressure is on and the coming weeks will be a test of resolve for Rosler, but he has the squad to cope with what is coming up, providing injuries keep to a minimum. Beating Barnsley tomorrow will be a step in the right direction.

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Post Match Reaction: Barnsley 0 Wigan Athletic 4 – Coyle’s revolution takes a firm step forward

Barnsleyactionpic

 Owen Coyle’s revolution at Wigan Athletic took a firm step forward on Saturday with a rousing win at Barnsley. Not only was the result impressive, but Latics did it in such a style that it will send shockwaves to all teams in the Championship who consider themselves promotion contenders.

In a short amount of time Coyle has built on the style of play that was developed over a period of four years by his predecessor, Roberto Martinez. That silky approach is still very visible, but this Latics side can also mix its possession football  with a directness that adds an extra dimension to their play.

Latics lineup was a mixture of the old and the new, with five new signings starting. In contrast to the Martinez era only one of them was a player without links with the British Isles, that being Chilean winger Jean Beausejour.

The switch from Martinez’s tactical system based on a central defensive trio and wingbacks into a fluid 4-3-3 system has been smoothly implemented. Ben Watson played in front of the back four, giving James McArthur and James McCarthy the licence to push further forward.

Jean Beausejour – used as a wingback by Martinez – was able to play  a more attacking role on the left wing, not having to worry so much losing the ball and his defence being stretched as a result. Grant Holt is going to get a lot of goals from his sublime crosses this season.

Although best employed in a creative central midfield role, in the  hole behind the centre forward, Shaun Maloney can also operate wide on the right or left.

Latics latest signing, Leon Barnett, came out with flying colours after only joining the club in midweek and not having had a real pre-season under his belt. Barnett is another shrewd signing by Coyle, not only having Premier League experience, but having played the three Championship winning sides at West Bromwich, Norwich and Cardiff. To put the icing on the cake he was to score the third goal.

With quality target men like Grant Holt and Marc-Antoine Fortune to aim at, Latics are able to play the long ball forward when needed.  However, given the large number of matches ahead Coyle will surely continue to look towards acquiring a third central striker for his squad.

Looking at the starting lineups and the players on the bench for each team it was clear that Latics were going to be technically way ahead of Barnsley, who have struggled against relegation for the past couple of seasons.  The question was whether Wigan were able to put in the hard graft to withstand a physical Barnsley barrage.

One of the major criticisms of Martinez’s Latics teams over the years was that they were not always up for the physical side of the game. This game showed that Coyle has put together a squad that can battle and “get stuck in” when the going gets tough.

Both  James Perch and Leon Barnett in the centre of defence are strong tacklers, capable of ‘mixing it’ with opposing forwards. The starting midfield trio of Watson, McArthur and McCarthy are formidable at this level , not to mention Chris McCann, Roger Espinoza and Jordi Gomez who were on the bench. The highly promising Fraser Fyvie also awaits his opportunity in midfield.

Barnsley have another difficult season ahead. There will be much stronger opposition for Wigan to face, with a plethora of games to play over the course of the season.

However, it is not just the emphatic scoreline that will give Latics fans optimism for what is to come. More importantly, new players have already started to gel with those from last year’s squad . Moreover Wigan showed in this match that they have the necessary tenacity to blend with their technical ability. It is a mixture of the two that is needed to get out of a tough Championship division.

Owen Coyle’s revolution still has a long way to go, but it has already taken one further step forward.

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