Big games bring out best in Wigan Athletic, insists Kal Naismith

Kal Naismith
Kal Naismith

Kal Naismith is hoping the memories of last season’s famous win at Elland Road will inspire Wigan Athletic to get back on the horse in style against Leeds United this weekend.

The backs-to-the-wall 2-1 triumph on Good Friday as good as secured Latics’ Championship status for another campaign after a worrying dip in results saw them drop into the bottom three.

And with the players looking to recover from last weekend’s derby debacle at Preston, Naismith says it’s the perfect fixture to put things right.

“It was definitely a stand-out moment from last season,” Naismith told the Wigan Observer.

“The atmosphere at their place was incredible, one of the best I’ve experienced in my career.

“I’m sure they’ll bring a packed away end again to our place, but our fans will get behind us all well like they always do.

“We’ll dust ourselves down from Preston, we’ll refocus on the job in hand and be ready to go on Saturday.

“The fans help us so much at home, I don’t think the good record we’ve got there is a coincidence.”

Latics were unfortunate to lose at home to Leeds last November by the odd goal in three, after Reece James had put them in front with a fine free-kick.

And the visit of Marcelo Bielsa’s outfit won’t hold any fears for Naismith and Latics.

“I think you saw last year, against the big boys, we always turned up and gave them a game,” acknowledged the Scot.

“We’re a good side in our own right, full of top players and it’ll be the same again this year.

“We’ll push the big boys all the way, the games usually bring out the best in us, and we’ll give anyone a game on our day.”

The Latics players will certainly have a point to prove, after a second successive derby humiliation at near-neighbours Preston.

“We will take things from it – you need to take lessons from defeats like that,” added Naismith, who again showed his versatility by switching from midfield to defence in the second half.

“We’ll digest what went wrong, we’ll take the things we need to from it, the things we can improve on.

“And we’ll try to make sure what went wrong doesn’t go wrong again."