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Wigan plan ambitious academy redevelopment

ESPN staff
January 23, 2013 « Etim: Renee Forte gets punished at Wembley Arena | Chartbeat test »

Wigan have unveiled new plans to redevelop their Christopher Park training ground into a leading multi-million-pound academy.

Club chairman Dave Whelan, acting head of the academy Matt Jackson and chief executive Jonathan Jackson were at the DW Stadium on Tuesday to discuss the plans with local residents.

The first team currently train at Christopher Park but will eventually move to a purpose-built site out of town, with the existing facilities redeveloped to focus purely on the club's younger players.

Plans include the building of a full-size indoor training facility, a state-of-the-art all-weather surface, modernised changing facilities, a gymnasium and offices to go alongside the six existing outdoor pitches.

Work is expected to start at the end of the season, providing the club are granted planning permission.

"Our continuing development both at first-team level and as a community club relies on our ability to attract and retain good quality professional players, develop young talent through our academy and the football club being a focal point of the community," Jonathan Jackson told the club's official website.

"These exciting new plans are the first part of a major new development aimed at creating a Category 1 Football Academy at Wigan Athletic. With this facility we intend to attract and develop young players into the next Leighton Baines, someone who came through the ranks at Wigan and now regularly represents England at full international level.

"Our dream is for the club to become synonymous with excellence on and off the pitch and this first stage of our development is a huge step in the right direction to make that dream come true.''

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