GARY Caldwell has revealed the lead-up to last weekend’s victory at Rochdale was his most traumatic as a manager.
The Latics chief admitted to having ‘sleepless nights’ before deciding on a change of team and formation – which was fully vindicated with the convincing 2-0 victory.
Telling players they’re not involved is the most difficult aspect of the jobGary Caldwell
Latics are now unbeaten in their last 10 league matches, a run that has seen them rise to within four points of the summit.
But it’s not a run that has come without its problems for the manager, who retained only three members of the side that had hammered Blackpool 4-0 in the JPT only four days earlier.
“Saturday was probably the hardest team I’ve picked since I’ve been in the job,” Caldwell told Wigan Today.
“I had a lot of sleepless nights ahead of the game, because there were so many different permutations.
“Pretty early in the week we decided to change the shape - that was a given, with the way Rochdale attack.
“We knew we had to go with a back four, which we are comfortable with thanks to the work we did in pre-season.
“Deciding who would play in those positions was the real dilemma, and it took me a long time to come to the conclusions I did.
“I had to leave some players who should have been playing out of the squad.
“Not only were they not in the team, they weren’t even in the squad.
“From that point of view it’s great for the club that we
have those options, but it doesn’t make it any easier for me.”
Having only hung up his own boots at the end of last term, Caldwell knows full well the pain that his decisions will have caused within the dressing room.
“Telling players they’re not involved is the most difficult aspect of the job,” he acknowledged.
“I’ve been a player until very recently, and I know how bad it is.
“I’ve been told in lots of different ways that I wouldn’t be playing - and I didn’t like any one of them.
“There is no good way. You can speak to them on their own or in a group, but it’s something nobody wants to hear, no matter how it’s done.
“Especially when I’m having to tell former team-mates that they’re not in the side, it is very difficult.
“But that’s part of football - they have to deal with it and they have to work hard every day to try to get back in the team.
“We have to appreciate we have a big squad here, and we’re all trying to achieve a target this year.
“As long as we keep winning games then we remain on target for that, and everyone is a big part of that process.”