Talking football: Caldwell gets right response

Yanic Wildschut
Yanic Wildschut

WELL if Gary Caldwell wanted a reaction to Saturday’s horror show at Bury, he certainly got one against Blackpool on Tuesday night.

The Latics boss was forced to apologise to the fans for the way his side capitulated as they bowed out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle.

It was the most embarrassing Latics performance seen at Gigg Lane this season – worse even than Leon Barnett falling over a wall trying to take a throw-in during the league game last month.

But after rightly lambasting them at the weekend, we all need to give Caldwell and Latics huge credit for the way they bounced back against the Seasiders.

There was even a symmetry about the scorelines – 0-4 and 4-0 – to underline the point.

Right from the off the Wigan side was collectively on its game, the only question once Jordy Hiwula opened the scoring being how many goals they would score.

While Hiwula took many of the plaudits for his two-goal salvo, what a joy it was to see Craig Davies back in the groove.

I’m struggling to think of another player at any level of the game who rolls his marker as good as Davies on his day.

It’s an art form, pure and simple. We all know what’s coming, the defender certainly knows what’s coming, and yet no-one seems to be able to do anything about it.

If the former Wales international can hold his form and fitness – and add goals to the equation – maybe a spot at next summer’s European Championships might not be such an outlandish suggestion.

WITHOUT wishing to stick the knife in, Blackpool put in arguably the worst performance by an away side at the DW Stadium this season.

And I can’t help but feel manager Neil McDonald deserves the lion’s share of the blame for his completely underwhelming pre-match comments.

“If we beat Doncaster (in the league) at the weekend, then that will get us further up the league and that’s what matters to me,” he said.

“I have to be very honest with myself and say that’s the most important thing for us.

“That’s not degrading any competition or team we are playing against.”

No, not at all pal.

It just ensured the Blackpool players that took to the field – who knew full well they were not first-choice – had an instant excuse to not win the game.

Which, as was the case in the FA Cup defeat at League Two outfit Barnet in the FA Cup last weekend, they duly took.

Poor form all round, and the real victims were the 446 hardy souls in the away end who chose to follow their team anyway and were given nothing by way of a reward.

If Blackpool fail to win on Saturday, McDonald will have some serious questions to answer.

CHECK out the photographic gem at the top of the page from midweek, courtesy of our seasoned snapper Bernard Platt (@plattyphoto).

Even better considering, as he was taking it, Bernard’s other hand was holding a mobile phone to alert our sports desk to the fact the stadium WiFi was down and he was struggling to file.

Truly a master at work!

IT’S the nature of the beast that players penning contract extensions rarely generate the same headlines and sense of excitement as when clubs make new signings.

But the securing of midfielder David Perkins on a 12-month extension to his current deal is probably the best piece of business Latics have done... since they signed the free agent in the first place over the summer.

AS Latics kicked-off against Blackpool on Tuesday, hearts and minds were very much with someone who wasn’t with us on the night.

Colleague Gary Carter, who’d been sat next to me for the previous home game against Swindon – sharing his inimitable observations of matters on and off the pitch – was in a Cambridge hospital, fighting for his life in an induced coma, following an assault last week. Gaz has been a regular visitor to the DW over the years, covering both Latics and Warriors.

And the quality of his writing is only surpassed by his quality as a bloke.

The thoughts and prayers of everyone here are with his family and wife, Gemma at this utterly horrific time.

If the incredible level of love, support and well-wishes have anything to do with it, he’ll be back with us in no time.