Wigan boss Leam Richardson comes up against Rovers this weekend, the side where he started his footballing journey.

The 42-year-old made his senior debut for Rovers in a league cup tie with Leeds United in October 1999.

Although that proved to be his only appearance for the club a month shy of his 20th birthday, Richardson said his Rovers experience is one he looks back on with pride.

The Rovers connections at Wigan don’t stop there, with James Beattie and Rob Kelly also on the coaching staff at the DW Stadium.

Richardson’s career took him to Bolton Wanderers, Notts County, Blackpool and Accrington before moving into coaching, now boss of the high-flying Latics.

They saw all their three festive fixtures postponed before returning to action with a 6-0 win over Oldham in the Papa John’s Trophy and are expected to name a strong side for tomorrow’s visit of Rovers.

Richardson reflected on his time at Rovers, but also the present day side under Tony Mowbray, when previewing the game which he expects to be a competitive affair.

“It was brilliant and it is still a bit of a blur,” he told Wigan’s website of his debut.

“I managed to make my senior debut against Leeds United which is a fantastic experience but to be involved in a Football Club like that at such a young age and seeing it progress under Jack Walker was brilliant, and to see them today, competing at a really good level (is great). 

“Tony (Mowbray) is in his fifth season, he’s consolidated fantastically well, he’s got a lot of young talent on the pitch adapting to a certain style of play, and knocking on the door of the Premier League. It’s a great credit to them.

“I’ve managed to watch them in the last few weeks and he’s got some very youthful talent in there and some good players around the pitch.

“They play a style of play which suits the individuals collectively. Some would say that they’ve not got massive superstars but they are an excellent team. They offer a threat all around the pitch. They have got a fantastic squad and whoever they pick, it will be really competitive game for us on Saturday.”