The January transfer window has hardly been a roaring success for Malky Mackay so far.
With two weeks to go until the transfer deadline, the only player Mackay has brought to Wigan has been Liam Ridgewell. And the defender is only on a six-week loan from MLS club Portland Timbers.
Mackay had started the window by hoping to sign a striker, especially after Grant Holt suffered a serious knee injury at the end of his loan spell at Huddersfield.
It’s hard to see how that has changed for Mackay, despite putting his faith in new partnership Martyn Waghorn and James McClean.
McClean scored the equaliser in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Blackburn, but that goal merely ensured Wigan are still averaging just a goal a game this season.
The result also left them five points from safety. Still, they’re not among the three favourites to be relegated in the Championship betting.
For that to change, Mackay needs to sign a striker who can score goals, but who can he get?
Mitchell te Vrede of Feyenoord has been linked with a move, although reports have claimed Wigan wanted to use the money from selling Shaun Maloney to Leicester to fund that deal.
Maloney’s move has collapsed after he failed to agree personal terms and so any deal for Te Vrede looks unlikely as Feyenoord are only interested in a sale, rather than loan.
Te Vrede has scored five goals in 13 appearances in the Eredivisie this season, averaging a goal every 97 minutes. But he has featured mostly as a substitute since the first few weeks of the season and can Wigan afford to gamble on an overseas signing?
Andy Delort and Oriol Riera haven’t made an impact since being signed by former manager Uwe Rosler.
A striker proven in the Championship is what Wigan need.
Ishmael Miller was linked earlier this month, but he has scored just two goals in 21 appearances for Blackpool this season. He did score twice at the DW last season in a 3-3 draw when on loan at Yeovil. But he doesn’t seem to be the answer.
The two names who appear to make the most sense, and perhaps more importantly, seem to be available, are Danny Graham and Billy Sharp.
Graham played for Mackay for two seasons at Watford and scored 27 goals in 2010/11. He also impressed in the Premier League for Swansea, but his career has stalled since joining Sunderland in 2013.
He only scored once in five appearances on loan at Wolves earlier this season, but he is proven at this level. He can finish and he is a clever player. It may just be that working with Mackay again could get Graham firing.
Leeds striker Sharp is another who is worth a look. He has been linked with a loan move to Ipswich after just two goals in 17 league games for Leeds this season.
Like Graham, his form over the past 18 months to two years has gone off the boil, but it’s worth remembering Sharp scored nine goals in 15 appearances to help Southampton win promotion to the Premier League.
He also scored 10 goals on loan at Nottingham Forest in 2012/13 and was a consistent scorer at Doncaster before that.
Both Sharp and Graham are the type of striker that Wigan need right now. They would have the potential to work as a partnership with McClean, too.
They are the sort of strikers which would be considered calculated gambles and that’s what Mackay has got to take to keep Wigan up.