Jordi Gomez knows what to expect this season as Latics prepare themselves to push for Premier League promotion from the Championship, drawing on his own experiences in the second tier with Swansea City during the 2008/09 campaign.
But the 28-year-old admitted that being one of the division’s scalps and juggling the demands of European football will make for a testing year for the squad, one every player has to be ready for physically and mentally.
Excited at the challenge, he said: “I played in the Championship with Swansea, so I know how difficult it is to play in and how long the season is.
“What will also be difficult is that other teams in the division will look at us as a team they want to beat. We’ve just spent eight years in the Premier League and won the FA Cup, so I think some teams will face us with added incentive.
“We’ve also got European football to compete in, which we want to do well in and not just make up the numbers, so we’ve all got a lot to be ready for and as congested as the fixture list will get we can’t allow our standards to drop for one single game if we are to achieve our main goal – promotion.
“I think ultimately the chance to test ourselves against European opposition will be exciting, and it’s something we all spoke about last season, so we’re ambitions and want to do well in the competition.
“But as I’ve said, the main ambition is to return to the Premier League, and if we all stick together like we have done in previous seasons then I don’t see why this season can’t be another memorable one.”
Gomez met up with his new manager on Monday when the squad returned for pre-season training, and says he got positive vibes from the gaffer, and a positivity that has already starting spreading around Christopher Park.
“I’m looking forward to working with the new Manager, and after meeting him for the first time on Monday I think he can help us achieve our aim this year.
“He’s very positive and encouraging, and already there is a good spirit in the group. Training was tough, but it was lively and the general feeling was that everyone was glad to be back.
“It’s always nice to have a break after a long season, but after three or four weeks away from football you start thinking about getting back to work and having a ball at your feet again.
“We’re all footballers and although during the summer we all have different interests when we’re trying to relax, we just want to be back playing football, so to get back with the rest of the boys is good and now the hard work starts ahead of a tough season.”