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Opposition Lowdown: Shaun Maloney’s Wigan Athletic

Reading’s final home game of 2023 sees The Royals face Wigan Athletic at the Select Car Leasing Stadium. Join us as we take a look at the opposition.

Wigan Athletic v Shrewsbury Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images


Wigan Athletic were relegated from the Championship alongside Reading last season after finishing bottom of the league, 10 points from safety. The Latics were docked three points last season for missed wages and have been docked eight points so far this season.

Despite this season’s deduction, Wigan currently sit 17th in the league after nine wins, four draws and eight losses, sitting six places and eight points ahead of Reading. They have won one, drawn three and lost one of their last five games and come into this weekend’s fixture off the back of a 3-2 loss away to Port Vale. However, this was only Wigan’s second defeat in 15 matches across all competitions.

Reading claimed a rare away win against Wigan last September, with Tom Ince scoring the winner. The sides played out a 1-1 draw at the Select Car Leasing Stadium in April where Yakou Meite scored a 93rd-minute equaliser in the last home game of the season.

The boss

Shaun Maloney: Maloney became Wigan’s third manager of last season when he joined the club in January, following the departure of Kolo Toure, who was sacked after less than two months in charge.

Maloney played for the likes of Celtic, Aston Villa, Wigan and Hull City prior to his retirement from playing in 2017. Following his retirement, Maloney had coaching spells at Celtic and the Belgium national team, before securing his first managerial role at Hibernian in 2021.

He spent five months in charge at Hibs before his sacking in April 2022, following six wins, six draws and seven losses in 19 games.

The 40-year-old Scotsman has won 19 of his 46 games in charge of the Latics so far, giving him a win percentage of 41%. He likes his sides to play attacking football while building from the back.


11 players joined Wigan over the summer, with five joining on free transfers and six coming in on loan. Winger Callum McManaman rejoined on a free transfer, starting his third spell at the club after four years away. The Latics also completed the free-transfer signings of right-backs Sean Clare and Steven Sessegnon, midfielder Matt Smith and winger Johnny Smith.

They also completed the loan signings of centre-backs Omar Rekik (Arsenal), Liam Morrison (Bayern Munich II) and Kell Watts (Newcastle United), midfielders Liam Shaw (Celtic) and James Balagizi (Liverpool) and winger Martial Godo (Fulham).

12 players left the DW Stadium including winger James McLean, who joined Wrexham, striker Will Keane and defender Jack Whatmough, who both signed for Preston North End and winger Anthony Scully who signed for Portsmouth.

Wigan will be without defender Jason Kerr and midfielders James Balagizi, Thelo Aasgaard and Matt Smith who will all miss out on this Saturday’s game through injury.

Expected lineup

Tickle, Sessegnon, Clare, Hughes, Morrison, Adeeko, Smith, McManaman, Lang, Jones, Humphrys

Key player

Stephen Humphrys: Forward Humphrys joined Wigan in 2021, signing from Rochdale for an undisclosed fee. He started his youth career at Bury before joining the youth setup at Fulham. He made his first professional appearance for Fulham in 2016, before having loan spells at Shrewsbury, Rochdale and Scunthorpe United.

He secured a permanent move to Southend in 2019, where he stayed for a year and a half before joining Rochdale. Humphrys scored 11 goals for Rochdale in his first season and secured a permanent move to Wigan the following summer.

He scored seven goals for the Latics in his first season and then spent last season on loan at Hearts. The 26-year-old returned to Wigan this summer and is now a regular starter and the Latics’ top scorer this season with nine goals to his name. Humphrys can play anywhere across the front line but is predominantly a powerful striker with good pace.

One to watch

Martial Godo: Winger Godo joined Wigan this summer, signing a season-long loan deal from Premier League Fulham. He started his youth career at Dartford, but moved to Margate where he made 22 senior appearances. Godo joined Fulham in March 2022 and made his debut for the club last August.

He has been a regular feature in the club’s under-21 side and scored six goals last season. The 20-year-old has made 16 appearances for Wigan so far this season, scoring three goals while also notching three assists. Godo is a tricky and pacey winger who can play on either wing.