Charlie Mulgrew says terminating his loan deal with Wigan Athletic was the best thing for him, after returning to parent club Blackburn Rovers earlier this week.
The 33-year-old joined Wigan on a season-long loan on the final day of the summer transfer window, and went onto make 13 appearances in all competitions during his time with Paul Cook’s side, putting in a string of impressive performances that had given rise to the expectation that the Latics would look to make his move permanent this month.
Mulgrew however, elected to ask to be recalled to Ewood Park on Wednesday – the final day such a clause could be triggered – and explaining his reasons for doing that, the defender told Blackburn’s official website: “There was a recall up until yesterday and I decided off my own back that the best thing for me going forward was to come back here amongst the lads and fight for my spot.
“I’d been thinking about it for a couple of weeks and in the end, I decided that the best thing for me was to come back here.”
Reflecting on his time at Wigan, which ends with the Latics 23rd in the Championship standings, Mulgrew continued: “I’m very thankful for my time at Wigan and the opportunity they gave me, but ultimately for me going forward, to be fit and available to be any use to anybody, my best option was to come back here and I’m delighted to be here.
“I phoned the manager here a couple of times, we spoke about the situation and he was brilliant. We’ve always had a great relationship, so he was great with me and said I was welcome back.
“So I appreciate that and I thank him for that and I hope I can pay him back with helping out in whatever way I can.”
Having featured for Blackburn on the opening day of the season before that move to Wigan, the Scot is now ineligible to play for any other clubs this season, meaning he looks set to remain at Ewood Park until the summer at least.
While he is currently unavailable due to a calf injury, it seems Mulgrew has not ruled out a return to the Rovers side before the end of the current campaign, as he added: “I started running at Wigan a few days ago and I’ve been out running again today. I’ll keep building up to be training hopefully by the end of next week.
“And then I’ll just give all I can to be available for this club and fight to get this club to where it wants to be. I’ll be a complete professional and do everything I can to help this club and be ready when called upon.”
This is an interesting one.
It had seemed as though Rovers needed to add to their defence this month, having been short on number in that position during the first half of the season, and you wonder whether Mulgrew’s return here relieves some of the pressure on him to do that.
With Darragh Lenihan and Tosin Adarabioyo seemingly establishing their positions as the club’s first-choice central defensive partnership, it could be hard for Mulgrew to force his way back into the side, although his performances at Wigan suggest he would be a reliable alternative when needed.
Given the quality of those performances, it does look as though Mulgrew could be something of a miss for the Latics, which is the last thing they need with their current position in the Championship table.