Preston North End are a model for Championship new boys to learn from says Wigan Athletic boss

Wigan Athletic boss Leam Richardson sees Preston North End as the model to emulate as he looks to re-establish his side in the Championship.

By Tom Sandells
Friday, 29th July 2022, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 29th July 2022, 12:19 pm

The Latics are back in the second tier three seasons on from finishing 13th and being relegated.

Paul Cook was the boss the last time the two met in a league game and Richardson instead his assistant.

It’s been a crazy three years for both Wigan and Richardson, the club nearing extinction before Phoenix Group brought them back from the brink.

Wigan Athletic boss Leam Richardson.

They now have an owner that seems to care for the club and the town, an attitude which is shared amongst the top staff and football staff.

Since the two sides’ last meeting, a 2-1 win for PNE at the DW, Wigan have fought for their lives at the bottom of League One, having had a skeleton squad going into the campaign and wondering whether there would even be a club to represent – as well as losing all of their best first team and youth players – and then won the division.

To go from relegation candidates and surviving in the final throes of the season to winning the league is a big jump in just 12 months, but credit should go to fine recruitment and management.

For boss Richardson, his last three years have seen him step up from assistant to the main man, keep the club in League One against the odds, save the life of striker Charlie Wyke after he collapsed in training, have a stand at the DW named after him and then lift the League One title.

Now it is time for a bit of normality for the 42-year-old, should he know what that is as Wigan boss.

With uncertainty behind them off the pitch, it is time for the usual stresses and uncertainty on it – normality – as the Latics look to survive back in the Championship.

They have made just one signing this summer, Ryan Nyambe coming in on a free transfer from Blackburn Rovers, but they will be hoping the momentum of last season’s success will play its part.

Richardson has looked towards PNE as a model to learn from in making the step up and is more than familiar with their manager Ryan Lowe.

"Start of the season, first home game, a derby fixture, it's fantastic for the fans,” Richardson said.

"Against a side that's been in this division for a number of years, who have consolidated really well, backed most of the managers they've had to make those steps forward.

"I think it's a great model for any team to look at, a really strong club with a really strong team.

"They're comfortable with what they're doing, they have a recruitment strategy within that, and a really good playing philosophy.

"Their initial aim was to consolidate at this level and, as we've seen, they're now growing into that.

"From the outside looking in it seems like a very solid structure and a good philosophy in there.

"As a newly-promoted team at this level, it's a great challenge in front of us.

"I've been on a few coaching courses with Ryan, we've played against each other and we're both northern lads.

"It'll be great to see him after the game."