A board member, a returning winger and one that got away - the many Ipswich links in the Wigan side
PUBLISHED: 06:00 14 December 2018
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Ipswich Town take on a Wigan Athletic side including a number of familiar faces tomorrow. ANDY WARREN takes a look.
The former Blues manager is now a director at Wigan following a Hong Kong takeover earlier this year, with Royle’s son Darren in the role of chairman.
He brings with him a wealth of experience having led Oldham, Everton, Manchester City and Ipswich during his management career, before returning to Goodison Park to work with the Toffees’ young players.
He’s enjoying life as a director at the DW Stadium and plans on attending this weekend’s game - only the second time he will have returned to Portman Road following his departure in 2006. He made took the Blues to the Championship play-offs in 2004 and 2005, only to lose to West Ham on both occasions.
“I’ve only been back once since leaving and it’ll be good to see some old faces,” he told the Colchester Gazette this week.
“From what I gather, they’re playing well but without winning games.
“It’s not like they’re playing desperately badly and we’re certainly not going there thinking it’s going to be a walkover.
“I really hope they turn things around – after this weekend - but it’s far too early to be thinking about relegation.”
Garner swapped Portman Road for Wigan on transfer deadline day in August, with his move not confirmed until four hours after the closure of the transfer window after Wigan interest emerged just two hours prior to the deadline.
He ultimately departed after scoring 10 Championship goals in his only season at Portman Road, which was blighted by ongoing injuries, with Ipswich making a £500,000 profit as they sold the striker for £1.25m.
Garner had been keen on a return to his native North West for personal reasons, with former Ipswich manager Paul Hurst insisting he had little option but to let the forward move on.
He’s scored once in 11 appearances for Wigan, with injury again limiting his time on the field, with the 30-year-old likely to be on thee bench when he returns to his former club this weekend.
The Everton youngster became a popular figure during his loan spell at Ipswich last season.
He arrived as cover for the right-back position, behind Jordan Spence and Dominic Iorfa, and was replaced at half-time of his first start for the Blues following a disappointing display against Bolton.
But he soon became a vital member of the Ipswich midfield, with a run of three goals in four games in November and December briefly firing the Blues back into the promotion chase.
In all he made 35 appearances for Ipswich, 30 as a starter, but has been in and out of the Wigan side this term. He scored on his debut against Aston Villa on the opening day of the season but is now a regular substitute.
The central defender, now 34, has played for 10 clubs during his long career - with Ipswich the side he represented most.
He made 127 appearances for the Blues after being signed by Jim Magilton in 2006, as part of a side which flirted with the play-offs on a number of occasions without being able to force their way in.
Significent stops at Leeds and then Hull followed following his Ipswich departure in 2010, before signing for Wigan last summer just two games into a non-contract spell with Bury.
He’s made just one appearance for Wigan this season but is now back on the bench after injury.
The winger showed flashes of what he was capable of at Portman Road, following his £220,000 move from Accrington in 2006, but his journey back to the Championship has been a long one.
A decade on, which saw him win League One promotion with Huddersfield before joining Paolo Di Canio’s Swindon, then League Two title runs with both Portsmouth and Chesterfield, he’s back in the second tier with Wigan.
Now 34, he’s been a regular starter for the Latics of late.
Transfer deadline day was a strange one for the son of former Hull striker Dean.
The previous evening Ipswich and Rangers had been in negotiations regarding a £2million move to Portman Road but later that afternoon he was hauled off the team bus prior to a Europa League game so that a move to Wigan could be completed.
“It’s been a strange day,” Windass said: “I woke up this morning to get to Ibrox to get on the coach to play in the game tonight and then next minute I get a phone call and I’m here to do a medical.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make to be honest because I’ve been playing a lot at Rangers, but I spoke to the manager this morning when I got the call and I felt the best thing was to come here to try and prove myself and get this team up the league.”
The wide man has made 19 appearances for his new club, scoring twice.
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