The power is now in Caldwell’s hands

Gary Caldwell watches over James McClean as he takes training ahead of Latics' trip to Fulham

Gary Caldwell watches over James McClean as he takes training ahead of Latics' trip to Fulham

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THE last team Gary Caldwell selected was an Under-13s side as he gained valuable coaching experience.

The one he’ll pick tonight will have a massive bearing on the short-term – and perhaps long-term – future of Wigan Athletic.

I remember seeing a programme on Ryan Giggs last year, when he got the job at Manchester United, and he said one of the hardest things was picking his first United team and leaving mates out of the team and having to tell them.I want to do that in an honest way, and I’ll always be up front with people

Gary Caldwell

Latics travel south for a crucial clash at fellow strugglers Fulham, looking for snookers as they bid to avoid the drop into League One.

Seeking to bridge an eight-point gap to safety with only five matches to go, it’s obviously a massive ask – but Caldwell’s looking to pick up where he left off as a gaffer in the academy ranks.

“We played an Irish select team that were over, we won 8-1 I think, so hopefully that’s a good omen,” smiled Caldwell, who admits the hardest part of his new role will be to leaving out guys who, until earlier this week, were team-mates.

“I’ve thought about so many things, and I’ve obviously thought about that,” the 32-year-old acknowledged.

“I remember seeing a programme on Ryan Giggs last year, when he got the job at Manchester United, and he said one of the hardest things was picking his first United team and leaving mates out of the team and having to tell them.

“I want to do that in an honest way, and I’ll always be up front with people.

“I want to start as I mean to go on, and when that happens I want to let people know as honestly as I can.”

Caldwell took training yesterday for the first time, and admits it was initially strange to be the ‘other’ side of the white line.

“Obviously there’ll be an initial shock of seeing me standing up there, which might be strange for them to begin with,” the ex-Scotland skipper recognised.

“For me, it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time so I don’t think it’ll be a problem.

“It’ll probably be more uncomfortable for them, but once that wears off I think it’ll be fine.

“I’ve been in there for a long time, I know them well, and they’re good players and good people.

“Hopefully I can give them the guidance to be a successful team again.”

Caldwell at least has a clean bill of health and a full squad to choose from, with Martyn Waghorn champing at the bit for a start after a succession of late cameos off the 
bench.