Gary confident Latics can cut down Forest

Gary Caldwell
Gary Caldwell

Wigan Athletic will be taking on very much an unknown quantity this afternoon when they travel down to the East Midlands to face Nottingham Forest.

The Forest starting line-up has been mix and match so far, with new boss Philippe Montanier trying to give as many of his squad the chance to prove they have a future at the City Ground.

That approach has brought one win and a couple of defeats from their three matches played - one point fewer than Latics - although Caldwell is not reading too much into their start.

“I think they’re obviously still looking for their best team,” the Latics boss recognised.

“They’ve started 23 different players in three league games so far, which is a pretty mean feat.

“But they’re a team with real threats from different areas of the pitch, and we have to be ready for that.

“They’re unbeaten at home, with one win, and we know it’s going to be a difficult game.

“We have to go out there and play our way, bring our strengths to the game and try and control it.

“We’ll be going for the win, because I feel we should have more points than we do, so we need to make up for it.”

The trip to the City Ground hammers home the fact that Latics are once again back in there with the big boys, against a side that won back-to-back European Cups less than four decades ago.

“It’s a big game, fantastic stadium, big crowd, and we’re determined to enjoy it,” Caldwell acknowledged.

“My players look like they’re enjoying the Championship, they’re playing well, with a real freedom and belief in what we’re doing, and we want to continue doing that.

“I think we’ve shocked a few teams so far in terms of how good we are and the quality we possess.

“But it’s all about getting points, and we need the total to be going up faster than it is at the moment.”

Caldwell will still be without the likes of long-term absentees Donervon Daniels (knee), Reece James (ankle), Andy Kellett (knee) and Kyle Knoyle (elbow), while Jake Buxton serves the third and final game of the ban he picked up for his red card at Oldham.

However, the Latics chief reported no fresh injuries from the midweek draw with Birmingham, and says his players are handling the tough early-season workload very well indeed.

“Three games in a week is difficult, and bumps and bruises are unavoidable,” he added.

“But you have to have the mental toughness and resilience to keep going, and that’s what the Championship is all about.”

Forest boss Philippe Montanier admits he’ll be happy to be back home after three successive games on the road.

After seeing off Burton on the opening day, Forest won at Doncaster in the League Cup, before losing back-to-back games in the league at Brighton last weekend and Brentford in midweek.

“It is a massive help for us to play at home and we want to have a good home record for the supporters,” he said.

“The atmosphere against Burton Albion was fantastic and we need that again.

“Wigan are a good team. They’ve started the season very well, scoring three goals against Blackburn in their second game, and they’ll be a difficult team to break down because they’re very organised.

“But we need to continue working hard to get a positive result.”