Burke top of Caldwell’s list

Gary Caldwell
Gary Caldwell

Gary Caldwell will today step up his efforts to bring in the ‘few’ players he feels Wigan Athletic need ahead of Wednesday’s transfer deadline, with West Ham defender Reece Burke understood to be top of his wish-list.

With no game now for a fortnight because of the international break, the Latics chief can throw all his attention towards strengthening a squad he readily admits is light in more than one area.

But it’s right wing-back where his major problem - and his most pressing need for reinforcements - lies.

With the gamble to play Yanic Wildschut there at Nottingham Forest not paying off, Caldwell elected to redeploy Max Power during Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to QPR.

And while Caldwell was delighted with the way Power took one for the team and filled in admirably, it meant his undoubted influence in the midfield battle ground was missing.

“I thought Max was excellent out of position, and when he went into the midfield in the second half he gave us energy and drive,” Caldwell acknowledged.

“But he’s clearly not a right wing-back, and it’s clearly a position we need to strengthen.”

“There’s a few problems we have to deal with, and the club is working hard to make sure we do deal with that.

“We’ll definitely be doing business in the next few days.”

Caldwell has already signed one right wing-back from West Ham this summer, although season-long loanee Kyle Knoyle suffered a badly-broken elbow within days of arriving last month and won’t be back in the foreseeable future.

With Donervon Daniels also out long-term after undergoing knee surgery, Caldwell has targeted another Hammers youngster, Burke, to answer his SOS.

The 19-year-old spent last term on loan in League One at Bradford, where he enjoyed an outstanding campaign that saw him voted the club’s ‘Player of the Year’.

Burke had been hoping to secure some game-time back at West Ham this season, but the Hammers’ shock failure to make the group stages of the Europa League last week means another loan - at Championship level - is now the favoured option.

Caldwell has to move fast, with Brighton also thought to be keen on securing his services.

The Scot is also looking to bolster the striking ranks, with Craig Davies - the only senior back-up to Will Grigg - having netted only once in the last 12 months.

Another creative spark could also be on his shopping list, especially if the speculation linking winger Ryan Colclough with Sheffield United proves to be correct, while Sam Morsy is also expected to depart before the deadline, with Barnsley his most likely destination.

It promises to be a busy start to the week for the Latics boss, who denied Saturday’s home defeat - their first of the campaign - had exacerbated the need for new blood.

“Not at all,” he responded. “I knew very early in the season what we needed, and I still know what we need.”

Caldwell is refusing to panic, despite back-to-back defeats leaving Latics on four points from a possible 15, and above third-bottom Rotherham only on goal difference.

“We’re not panicking at all,” he added.

“Last year we got off to a slow start, and we showed with hard work and desire that we could get there in the end.

“I have total belief in this group of players that we can get there again.

“We will improve in the next few days, of that I am sure, and we’ll work hard over the next two weeks to be ready for the next match.

“I’m actually looking forward to getting out there on the training pitch, and working on things we need to get right.

“The international break gives us the chance to work with the players, and make sure the things that have been going wrong can be put right.”