GARY Caldwell reckoned Wigan Athletic’s 0-0 draw at Southend was ‘a fair result for both sides’.
Latics bounced back from the midweek home defeat at the hands of Burton to pick up a decent point on the road against the play-off-chasing Shrimpers.
Had Leon Barnett not seen a couple of efforts cleared off the line as well as hitting the bar in stoppage-time, it could have been even better.
“We could have nicked it at the death, and we looked a threat all game,” acknowledged Caldwell.
“We had a few opportunities cleared off the line as well as the one off the bar, and we’re disappointed the ball wouldn’t go in for us.
“But overall a draw was a fair result for both teams.”
Barnett certainly made his presence felt on his return to the side, deputising for injured captain Craig Morgan.
“That’s Barney - whenever he plays it’s eventful,” recognised the Latics boss.
“He puts his head on the ball in both boxes, and I thought he defended excellently when they had a bit of pressure in the first half.”
Barnett’s inclusion was one of five changes made in an attempt to freshen things up for a third game in the space of seven days.
Out went Morgan, Tim Chow, David Perkins, Michael Jacobs and Yanic Wildschut, with Jason Pearce, Don Cowie, Will Grigg and Francisco Junior joining Barnett in the starting XI.
But Latics were made to battle every inch of the way against a Southend side determined to record a third win on the bounce.
“We’ve found that every game in this league is difficult,” admitted Caldwell.
“It’s very competitive, and any team can take points off any other.
“We need to keep concentrating on ourselves and keep trying to progress in terms of picking up points and the way we play.
“We’ve got a big squad that we need to take advantage of.
“I thought Michael (Jacobs) especially when he came on gave us a spark, he was drifting past players with ease.
“It’s good we have that sort of quality on the bench and important we use it.”
Striker Grigg was making his first league start for month and, despite feeding off scraps for the majority, Caldwell was happy with his contribution.
“Will’s working very hard for the team,” said the manager.
“He’s had a stop-start season because of injury and international duty.
“But I still believe he’s the best striker in this league and he’ll score a lot of goals between now and the end of the season.”
Caldwell revealed Wildschut’s exclusion was precautionary after he reported a slight niggle after training.
“Yanic’s been struggling a little bit of late with his hamstrings,” the Scot explained.
“It’s nothing serious, but we spoke to him before the game and he didn’t feel he’d be 100 per cent, and we didn’t want to take any chances.”
Latics suffered an early blow with Chris McCann limping off the field, with the manager keeping his fingers crossed the damage is not serious.
“Chris felt his groin just before we took him off,” Caldwell added.
“We’ll have to see how that is in the next few days.”