Football: Second Division preview - Latics look to go all the way

WIGAN PRODUCED a late run last season to pip Bournemouth for a spot in the play-offs but will be looking to go one better and win automatic promotion this season. As long as their multi-millionaire owner, Dave Whelan of JJB Sports and rugby league's Warriors fame, is prepared to spend, the task should not be beyond them.

The Latics squad last season was sufficiently strong enough to win the Auto Windscreens Shield and make a late charge for the First Division and Whelan has also been busy over the summer in the transfer market. The acquisitions of the Barnsley pair Darren Sheridan and Arjan de Zeeuw, as well as Charlton's Kevin Nicholls and the former Celtic winger Brian McLaughlin, should make them the team to beat this season.

Preston let slip their chance of automatic promotion last season and then lost to Gillingham in the play-offs. They will not want a repeat this year, and will be looking to last season's on-loan striker Steve Basham to spearhead their attack. The former Southampton man has now made his move permanent. The addition of the Everton left-back Adam Eaton and their Frenchman Farid Diaf will bolster their challenge.

Bournemouth, heralded as the model "fans-owned" club, missed out on the play-offs by a whisker on goals scored. If the finances stay steady, they could go close again, but a title challenge is probably beyond them.

Of the four clubs who were relegated from the First Division last season, Bristol City look the best placed for an immediate return. The lynchpin in the Robins' plan remains the unsettled striker Ade Akinibiyi, who could be rampant at this level after scoring 20 plus goals higher up last season. If he stays, City can prosper, especially under the guidance of the former Gillingham manager, Tony Pulis.

Burnley had an 11-match unbeaten run at the end of last season and have since signed Huddersfield's Tom Cowan, the experienced Mitchell Thomas, Dean West from Bury, and the promising young striker Alan Lee from Aston Villa. They could be there or thereabouts.

Of the sides moving up from the Third Division, Brentford could do best, especially if Ron Noades maintains his canny investment, which was exemplified by the 25 goals scored by Lloyd Owusu after his pounds 25,000 move from Slough Town.

Gillingham, under the former England Under-21 coach, Peter Taylor, must have also have a fair chance of a emulating last season's form.

Predictions: Automatic promotion: Wigan, Preston. Play-offs: Bournemouth, Bristol City, Burnley, Brentford. Relegation: Notts County, Wycombe, Oldham, Wrexham.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Designer / Design Director

£38000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B content marketing agen...

Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn