We’re going to Burton to win - Caldwell

Gary Caldwell
Gary Caldwell

Gary Caldwell insists Wigan Athletic will be going all-out to beat Burton Albion tonight in the big League One shoot-out.

Latics travel to the Pirelli Stadium three points clear of the Brewers at the top of the table with only four matches to go.

Despite a draw being of far more benefit to the visitors than the home side, Caldwell is adamant playing for a point is not in the nature of him or his team.

“I would hope people who’ve watched our team this year will have seen a team that’s tried to win every single game,” said the Latics boss.

“Tuesday will be no different – we’ll go out, we’ll play on the front foot, we’ll try and control the game with the ball, and we’ll try and attack and score goals.

“We’ve done that all season, and it will be no different on Tuesday.”

Walsall’s recent upturn in fortunes further complicates matters, with the third-placed Saddlers six points off the pace but with a game in hand, and a home game against struggling Swindon tonight.

And Caldwell is under no illusions as to how important tonight could be in the grand scheme of things.

“It’s the biggest game of the season – because the next game always is,” he acknowledged.

“Last week it was all about Saturday’s game, we get through that, and now it’s Tuesday.”

Latics go into the game looking to get back to winning ways after seeing their 20-match unbeaten sequence smashed at Doncaster on Saturday.

Despite holding a half-time advantage following Will Grigg’s 24th goal of the season, Latics came a cropper in the second half as goals from Andy Butler (2) and an Andy Williams penalty did for them.

While the result will have caused raised eyebrows up and down the country, Caldwell says Doncaster – without a win since January 2 – didn’t surprise him with their fighting display.

“We’d watched their games and they’d been playing better than their results suggested,” the Scot revealed.

“They should have won some of the games on their poor run, and we know every team raises its game when they’re playing against us – I’m pretty sure that will be their best performance of the season by a mile.

“We knew it was coming, we were prepared for it all, and it just didn’t happen on the day.

“You have to do the simple things well in football, the basics – tracking runners, winning second balls, being competitive.

“You have to do that. If you don’t, you’re not going to win any game.

“We also have to pass the ball better – too many players took too many touches and dribbled with the ball.

“We have to get back to basics, and get back to what we’ve been doing all season.

“That’s been the focus on Sunday and Monday in training.”

Latics have a score to settle against the Brewers, having gone down to a 1-0 defeat in the corresponding fixture back in November – one of only two defeats on home soil.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was Burton’s manager that night, although he soon jumped ship to QPR, with Nigel Clough taking over.

However, the ex-Derby boss has managed to keep Albion on the promotion trail by not changing an awful lot.

“I think they’re very similar to be fair,” added Caldwell, when asked to compare Burton under the two men.

“They still play a similar style, they’ve got a good team spirit among the players.

“They’ve brought that from winning promotion last year, and they’ve kept that winning mentality this season.

“They play on the front foot, they make you defend and work hard.

“They’re obviously up there on merit, they’re one of the better teams in this league, and it’s going to be a very difficult game.”

Caldwell also maintains he won’t be keeping close tabs on results elsewhere, and worrying about whether Walsall are making further inroads on the leaders.

“It doesn’t really matter what happens elsewhere,” the Latics boss revealed.

“I don’t focus on whether Walsall win, draw or lose, it’s irrelevant.

“We have to make sure we get our focus right and win all our games.”

The Saddlers required an 89th-minute winner from ex-Latics loanee Jordy Hiwula against Southend at the weekend, a goal that United boss Phil Brown was adamant hadn’t crossed the line.

Caldwell, though, refused to get involved in a moan.

“I’ve not seen it yet,” he added. “It doesn’t really bother me.

“I had enough to worry about on Saturday night than worrying about whether Walsall’s goal crossed the line or not.

“I watched our game back, and I watched some Burton games to try and prepare for Tuesday night.

“We have to do our job and win our remaining games.

“If we do that, we’ll win the league.”