GARY Caldwell admits he knows exactly where Wigan Athletic have gone wrong in their three meetings with Bury this term.
And the Latics chief has pledged lessons have been learned for when the two teams meet for a fourth time at the DW today.
Bury knocked Latics out of both cup competitions before Christmas – winning 2-1 at the DW in the League Cup before a 4-0 demolition at Gigg Lane in the FA Cup.
It could easily have been a hat-trick for the Shakers, had Latics not come back from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw in the corresponding league fixture in October.
But Caldwell is confident that his men will not be caught napping again – knowing a win could take them within a point of League One leaders Burton.
“I know where we’ve gone wrong against Bury this season,” Caldwell admitted. “But I’m not going to let you know, or them know. The important thing is that my players know, and they’ve worked hard to make sure we cut out those mistakes.
“I think we’ve controlled all of the games we’ve played – apart from when their first goal in the FA Cup-tie went in.
“But we’ve not managed to control the key moments within the game. That’s what we have to focus on this time. We know the threat that Bury have – having played them three times already.
“I think in the League Cup tie we were unlucky to lose, having played very well on the night.
“It feels like a lifetime ago, the team that night isn’t the team that we have now.
“I also thought we played very well in the league game and should have won the game.
“The FA Cup tie was obviously a very bad day, but up until the first goal we were well in the game and had plenty of opportunities to score ourselves.
“While the games have gone against us in terms of results, we know that if we perform well this weekend we should get the result.”
An 11-match unbeaten run has seen Latics climb to second place in League One with a third of the campaign still to go.
And with only long-time leaders Burton now above them in the standings, Caldwell is well aware the finishing line is in sight.
“You always want to look up, even from the start of the season,” he recognised.
“Obviously we didn’t have a good start and we had a long way to look up.
“Now it’s only one more place up, but it’s still a case of trying to keep improving.
“Burton are setting the standard in this league, and we have to keep working hard if we’re going to catch them.
“We’re just concentrating on ourselves, and putting as much pressure on them as we can.
“There is a pressure that comes with being top of the league, and you have to carry that. We have to make sure that we job by keeping winning games.
“I know they’ll be coming in after games, and Wigan’s result will be the first they’ll be looking for every week. We have to make sure it’s three points every week, and that they know that we’re not going to slip up and give them an easy ride.”
Bury have tumbled on the league ladder since their last meeting with Latics, and are rooted in mid-table after looking like possible promotion challengers at one point.
Caldwell, though, believes opposite number David Flitcroft should be applauded for the job he’s doing.
“I think they’ve done excellent to be where they are to be honest,” Caldwell added.
“They’ve come up from League Two, and they probably got too good a start in terms of expectation. Then the expectation levels outside, and from the fans, goes up.
“But with the resources they have, the manager’s doing a fantastic job, competing in a league above where they’ve been recently.
“Injuries and suspensions have affected the rhythm they had in the early part of the season, but they’re always a very difficult team to play against.”