Wigan Oman trip could prove vital

Gary Caldwell celebrates - Bolton Wanderers v Wigan Athletic
Gary Caldwell celebrates - Bolton Wanderers v Wigan Athletic

GARY Caldwell reckons Wigan Athletic’s week in Oman could be the difference between staying up and going down at the end of the season.

Latics took advantage of a weekend off by jetting out to Ali Al Habsi’s homeland, primarily for some warm-weather training but also to build up the Latics brand in a relatively untapped part of the world.

Tonight, Latics will take on the Oman national team in a friendly match, with a capacity crowd expected to descend on the Seeb Stadium to catch their first glimpse of a Premier League side on home soil.

The Wigan squad have been treated like kings both on and off the field since their arrival on Wednesday, and Caldwell hopes it will provide the perfect fillip to retaining their place at the top table of English football.

“There’s been plenty of time for rest and recuperation, but we’ve also managed to do some great work on the training ground,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.

“But as well as the training, the trip’s also important in terms of bonding off the field.

“There’s been meals, golf, events organised in the evening – and just being together as a group will cement the bond between us for the tough months that are ahead.

“Spending the whole week in each other’s company will hopefully create a real togetherness that we’re going to need in the games that are to come.

“The last three months of the season will be a big test of our character, and we’re going to need every single player to stick together if we’re going to do something.”

Roberto Martinez will give every member of the travelling party some game-time tonight, with Al Habsi poised to play one half for his club and the other for his country which is sure to go down well with the natives.