Jewell wants to build on Wigan's successful first season

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The Independent Football

Paul Jewell, the Wigan Athletic manager, is not getting complacent despite guiding the club to the brink of safety in their debut Premiership season and has started the hunt for players to strengthen his squad for next season.

Despite being many people's favourites for relegation at the start of the season, Wigan are in sixth place in the table, just one point short of the 40 generally accepted as ensuring safety, and are in the Carling Cup final later this month.

"The transfer window closed last week but you don't stop the search for players or take a break," Jewell said. "We are looking to bring players in during the summer in order to strengthen the squad and have made that search more expansive.

"There's the British market, Europe, South America - there are good players everywhere and it's up to us to find them."

Jewell is concerned Wigan's exploits will go to waste unless his squad realises how important it is for them to not only consolidate their position but strengthen it.

"I'm well aware that they say the second season is the hardest and that goes for the club and the players," he added. "The novelty factor can quickly wear off and it's up to us to make sure we build on what we've done so far.

"I'm not saying we're safe yet, but we have almost guaranteed our survival and I can't speak highly enough of the players.

"But we must always look to improve - if you stand still in football you can quickly start going backwards.

Wigan struggled to attract high-calibre signings last summer. However, the success of Pascal Chimbonda, Jason Roberts, Henri Camara, Stéphane Henchoz and Arjan de Zeeuw, plus the capture of Blackburn midfielder David Thompson in the January transfer window, mean things may be slightly easier at the end of the season.

Yet, despite the financial backing of the Wigan chairman,Dave Whelan, Jewell warned fans not to expect many big names.

"People want to know why we don't buy international strikers. Well, it's because we haven't got to that level yet.

"We are trying to get there and it must not be forgotten we have come a long way very quickly."