Big learning curve for Wellens

Date published: 02 February 2018

A terrific start to management, then a disappointing slide back into the Sky Bet League One drop zone, it’s been something of a baptism of fire at Oldham Athletic for Richie Wellens.

The trials and tribulations of the hot seat at Park would certainly test the strongest of footballing characters, and former Blackpool, Leicester and Doncaster playing star Wellens is no different.

Drafted in to replace the sacked John Sheridan in September, Wellens (37) got off to a flying start as manager, but a long winless streak either side of Christmas followed and the honeymoon period was clearly over.

And it’s not just results that have tested Wellens. Off-field concerns have grown, and though he did manage to draft in EIGHT new faces during the January transfer window, Wellens missed out on chief targets Matt Mills, Devante Cole, Joe Mason and Omar Bogle on deadline day, much to the Manchester-born man’s frustration.

It’s been a challenging few months for Wellens, but hopefully his determination and commitment to the cause will prevail in the end and Athletic will still be in League One next term.

Speaking to the Chronicle, Wellens said: “This job has been an unbelievable learning curve for me.

“There’s lots of reasons for that.

“As I speak to you now we’re supposed to be training in an hour, and we haven’t got anywhere to train.

“I’ve been having to ring round to try and get us somewhere to train.

“I don’t think there’s any other manager at this level who will have had to do that.

“I’m talking League One level now of course, it’s a good quality professional league.

“Look at Wigan. They’ve got two training grounds and their manager has got 20 players at his training ground.

“Any players he doesn’t want near his main training ground, he can just send them to the other one.

“It is difficult, but it has been a fantastic learning curve for me.

“I do think I’ve done well with what I’ve had to deal with, and I will keep trying my very best for this football club.

“I’ve always had this club at heart, so when I got the chance to take over it was a no-brainer.

“I said at the time I was still probably three or four years ahead of where I wanted to be at this stage of my career, but this is a good football club that’s just maybe in need of a few more good results.

“I’ll always continue to try my best to do that.”