James McClean’s arrival adds to Wigan’s Championship prospects

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The arrival of Sunderland’s James McClean has added to the positive feeling around the DW and after an impressive opening day win against Barnsley, Wigan are shaping up to be real Championship contenders.

All eyes may be on the transfer exploits of their noisy London league rivals Queens Park Rangers, but the Latics have been quietly conducting some interesting summer business.

Chief among these moves has been the arrival of veteran striker Grant Holt from Norwich City.

Many baulked at the £2 million transfer fee forked out for the 32-year-old over the summer, but after a commanding display in their 4-0 opening day away win against Barnsley, which was capped by a debut goal, it’s suddenly looking a shrewd move.

And with odds of 12/1 on the burly target man finishing top of the Championship scoring charts, this could be one signing to cash in on.

Throw in the arrival of Marc-Antoine Fortune on a free as back-up and it seems that the Latics have filled much of the gap left by the departure of striker Arouna Kone.

Yet it’s the arrival of James McClean from Sunderland for an undisclosed fee that could represent manager Owen Coyle’s biggest transfer coup yet.

The Republic of Ireland winger made 36 top-flight appearances last term and while he may have endured a second season to forget with the Black Cats, Wigan will know that a return to the kind of form seen in his debut campaign could fire them to an immediate Premier League return.

Coyle has a good track record with wingers, having previously got the best out of forgotten Manchester United academy graduate Chris Eagles during his time in the second tier with Burnley.

A similar upturn in form here could see McClean emerge as one of the most valuable players on the books at Wigan.

And with a squad that boasts the midfield talents of Callum McManaman, Jean Beausejour and Jordi Gomez, it’s difficult not to see odds of 5/2 on the Latics being promoted as something of a banker.

A 4-0 demolition of Barnsley at Oakwell showcased their attacking prowess and with back-to-back fixtures against promoted sides Bournemouth and Doncaster to come, the chance is definitely there for Wigan to make a positive early start.

This Sunday’s Charity Shield may be viewed as a fun day out for the fans, but it could also serve as a dress rehearsal for next season.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.