LEAM Richardson has warned Wigan Athletic to beware the “wounded animal” in troubled derby opponents Wanderers.

The former Bolton full-back, who will be in the away dugout this afternoon as Paul Cook’s assistant manager, has taken a keen interest in events down the road over the last few days.

Wanderers’ pay issues were hardly ideal preparation for the first meeting between the two local rivals since 2015 but Richardson refuses to believe they will give the Latics an easier ride.

“Once the whistle blows it's 11 against 11,” he said.

"The players will want to win as much as ever, so will the managers, so will the fans.

"I'm sure what's happened will all get brushed aside once the whistle goes.

"People make these situations a lot bigger - via the press and social media - but there'll only be one focus on the day for both teams. And that's the three points.”

Richardson played 18 times for Bolton, including a solitary appearance as a substitute in the Premier League against Leeds United, between 2001 and 2003 after moving from Blackburn Rovers.

He has since moved into management with Accrington, and worked alongside Cook at Portsmouth and Chesterfield before landing a role with the Latics.

His time in the lower leagues makes him wary of what Wigan may face this afternoon.

"I worked at Accrington for many years, under some very good people, and did every single job at the club,” he said.

"Did I ever experience any hardship, in terms of wages etc? I've seen it all!

"Sometimes that kind of thing can galvanise people.

"Sometimes the group gets tighter, stronger, more expressive.

"If you're a wounded animal, with nothing to lose, you can be very dangerous.

"They'll be fully prepared to play tomorrow, don't worry about that.

"Yes there's stuff going on, but it's been going on for a long time now.

"We won't be feeling sorry for Bolton in the slightest, just as they wouldn't feel sorry for us in the slightest if the roles were reversed.

"We'll want to win the game just as much as any other, and just as much as I'm sure they will.”