Caldwell ‘not concerned’ about drought

Gary Caldwell at Macclesfield
Gary Caldwell at Macclesfield

Gary Caldwell insists he’s ‘not at all concerned’ about Wigan Athletic extending their winless - and scoreless - pre-season programme to five matches.

Latics saw Macclesfield follow in the footsteps of Braga, Chester, Manchester United and Liverpool in keeping his side out, in a stalemate at the Moss Rose.

Despite a first start for Nick Powell and the half-time introduction of Will Grigg, Latics couldn’t translate their territorial and possessional dominance into something tangible.

Not that the manager was reading anything into that or the result, with the emphasis still on building up the players’ fitness.

“I’m not concerned - not at all,” he told the Evening Post.

“Of course it would be nice to be scoring goals, but the sharpness isn’t quite there because of the work they’re doing.

“We had a double training session yesterday and another one on the morning of the game, which we wouldn’t normally do.

“The players are going into the games fatigued, they’re not ready and fresh, so it’s understandable that the sharpness isn’t quite there in some players

“That final-third play is all about the dynamic movements, they’ll be heavy legged going into the games, so to expect them to be at their maximum just yet is something we’re not looking at and we’re not concerned at.

“At the moment it’s still about match minutes, the results aren’t important, and we can do that in preparation for the season.”

Macclesfield showed right from the first whistle it was going to be anything but a ‘friendly’ clash, with several challenges flying in that would have warranted cards in regular-season combat.

“Every friendly we’ve played has been competitive, and we’ve got a few players that don’t mind a tackle either,” Caldwell acknowledged.

“I think they had a couple of bad ones early on that the ref let go, and it became a kind of tasty match in terms of challenges.

“But that’s what we want, we want competitive games, and every game we’ve had has been like that.

“Overall it was another good work-out, another difficult game.

“Macclesfield were full of energy, and really tried to press us and get after us.

“Our players had to work very hard to move the ball around.

“I thought for the first 25 minutes to half an hour we were excellent, we had great speed on the ball and caused them problems.

“We couldn’t quite get that elusive goal, and we dipped a bit after that.

“We became frustrated that the first goal wasn’t coming, and that’s something we have to get better at.

“We have to keep doing what we’re doing and make teams chase us, and in the end we’ll get our rewards.”

The highlight of the night was Adam Bogdan’s penalty save from Jack Sampson, less than three minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute, and just hours after joining Latics on a season-long loan from Liverpool

“Brilliant, and it’ll be great for his confidence,” reflected the Latics boss.

“To save a penalty is probably the biggest impact you can make as a goalie.

“But I thought he looked comfortable, he seems like a great character, and it’s good to have him at the club.”