Wigan boss backing teenager Cotterill to shine

September 7, 2006

Wigan manager Paul Jewell will have no qualms about throwing 18-year-old David Cotterill in at the deep end for Saturday's clash at Portsmouth.

The Wales striker joined the Latics on transfer deadline day for £2million from Bristol City.

And Cotterill could be handed his debut at Fratton Park as Henri Camara is almost certainly out with a torn thigh muscle sustained in the 1-0 win over Reading 12 days ago.

With David Connolly sold to Sunderland last week, Lee McCulloch doubtful with a knee problem and on-loan Svetoslav Todorov unable to face former club Pompey due to league rules, Emile Heskey is struggling for a partner in attack.

Jewell appears to face a choice between Andreas Johansson and Cotterill, who only met his new team-mates today after being away on international duty.

Teenager Cotterill might just get the nod, with Jewell stating: 'I didn't bring him here just to play in the reserves and wrap him in cotton wool.

'Yes, he is one for the future, but if I think he is up to the task then he will get a chance and play.

'He played 15 minutes against Brazil in a friendly this week, so he is not a shy lad. He is confident.

'He is someone who can also play in a number of positions, either wide, behind the strikers or up front, so if he shows up well then he will be considered.'

Jewell has been a significant wheeler and dealer in the transfer market over the summer, signing 11 new faces at a cost of £16million.

But the Latics boss has only spent just under £3million in total due to several sales, a small sum he hopes will reap a hefty return as the club continue to build.

'If you said to any Premiership chairman `it's going to cost you £3million to stay in the league again, I think they'd take that',' added Jewell.

'In trying to sign players this summer, it's been easier in certain situations, but then with the type of player we have gone for we've had to beat off quite a bit of competition.

'In the past Wigan would never have fought off other Premiership clubs, or the likes of Espanyol to sign players, but that is what we have done.

'We've not shouted about it, but a lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes, with a lot of good players arriving here and we're delighted to have them.'

Jewell has now achieved what he has long been striving for - quality competition for places as he looks to follow on from the success of last season.

'What happened last season has gone, it's finished,' insisted Jewell.

'We have to forget what happened and all the nice things that were said about us and try to improve.

'Whether that means finishing higher than 10th or getting to a cup final, I don't know.

'But when I say improve, I want the club to progress and be stronger this time next year.

'The Premiership is awash with so much money if you survive, so if you can stay another year then the club will become much stronger.'