OWEN Coyle admits he is learning valuable lessons about his Wigan Athletic squad during the pre-season programme.
Latics travel to Morecambe tonight for their penultimate warm-up clash, boasting a 100 per cent record so far across their four hit-outs.
Coyle has used the fixtures so far to try out a variety of players in different positions, and has been pleased with what he’s seen.
The latest victory – a 2-1 win over crack Greek outfit Atromitos – saw him field a fledgling central defensive partnership of Chris McCann and James Perch.
With Emmerson Boyce rested and Thomas Rogne injured, Coyle’s hand was forced.
But the new-boys looked assured both on the ball and in dealing with enemy attacks.
“I thought we looked solid at the back, even though it was makeshift, and it does increase my options which is the important thing” Coyle told the Evening Post.
“Chris McCann, who I know very well from our Burnley days, filled in at centre-back, although he is clearly a midfielder and a very good one at that, and he did great.
“Young Adam Buxton also came in again and acquitted himself well, Stephen Crainey filled in at right-back in the second half and I thought they all did well.
“All in all we were delighted with the way things went, while acknowledging there are a few what we would call first choices still to come back.”
Coyle confirmed Rogne’s calf strain is improving all the time and he should be okay by the end of the week.
There is also promising news surrounding Scott Carson, who has an outside chance of featuring tonight at the Globe Arena.
“Scott has a slight thigh strain which we hope will have cleared if not by Wednesday then certainly by Friday,” Coyle added.
“Thomas continues to get better after his injury, and hopefully he can resume training towards the end of the week with a view to facing Dundee United on Saturday.”
Shaun Maloney is also in contention to feature tonight after sitting out Monday’s game as a precaution. And with the likes of James McArthur, James McCarthy and Grant Holt poised to start the game, Coyle is hoping as many Wiganers as possible make the short trip up the M6.
“The fans were brilliant at Leigh and we appreciate their support,” Coyle acknowledged.
“You can tell they love their football club, that’s something you notice right from the start. They’ve seen how we work and the demands we place on the players and the demands the players place on themselves.
“It’s great to have a squad full of talented individuals, but it’s all about the group and what you can achieve together.”
Fans can pay on the gate tonight priced £12 adults, £8 concessions and £4 children.