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Wigan Athletic backed to “smash” League One by new chairman

David Sharpe claims Wigan’s budget is five times the size of Latics’ promotion rivals

Wigan Athletic’s stay in the third tier of English football could be a short one according to the club’s chairman, who has come out with the sort of bullish comments that usually come back to haunt people.

David Sharpe took the reins from his grandfather Dave Whelan towards the end of last season and the 24-year-old is determined that the Latics clamber back into the Championship at the first time of asking.

A fortnight ago, Wigan Athletic were a best price 9/1 to win League One next season although some choice comments from Sharpe along with a couple of notable signings have seen the Lancashire club trimmed to 7/1 with bet365 and they might yet go off favourites ahead of Sheffield United.

Sharpe clearly feels that Wigan deserve to be favourites on account of how much money is being handed to manager Gary Caldwell this summer, with the Scot having the opportunity to reshape the current squad into a promotion-chasing one.

“I don’t just want to win this league,” Sharpe admitted at the end of a fans forum. “I want to smash it and get 100 points.

“I guarantee we will have a goalscorer who scores us 20 goals next season,” he continued. “I was brought up on (Nathan) Ellington and (Jason) Roberts scoring every week. And I’m prepared to pay good money for that.

“We’ll have a very good budget – five times more than anyone else in League One. We have bids in for three strikers, and they’re not cheap.”

Wigan were relegated from the Sky Bet Championship last season and it was a campaign littered with controversy, with Uwe Rosler being relieved of his duties before Malky Mackay was brought in from the cold to take charge.

Then-chairman Whelan got himself into hot water with his supporting argument for Mackay’s return to football management, although it wasn’t long before there was another parting of the waves.

Now Sharpe and Caldwell are working together on a successful promotion bid and Stan James go as short as 6/1 about Wigan winning the League One title, although Coral continue to hold 7/1 until further details of incoming players are revealed.

Betfred offer 5/2 about Wigan getting promoted to the Championship and a budget five times the size of any other club would surely give them a huge advantage, although Sheffield United would probably scoff at Sharpe’s comments.

After all, the Blades have just recruited Nigel Adkins as their new manager and the Yorkshire club can call upon a much bigger fanbase than their promotion rivals, with Adkins having previously done very well with Southampton and Scunthorpe United.

United are 11/2 to win the League One title after an underwhelming campaign which saw Nigel Clough sacked at Bramall Lane, with Millwall, Peterborough, Bradford and Barnsley the other teams who could be in the shake-up come the end of the season.

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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