Caldwell seeks a killer instinct
Gary Caldwell is hoping his players can rediscover their killer instinct as they aim to bookend their three-game drawing streak with a win today.
Latics’ title challenge stumbled with a goal-less game at Millwall at the start of this month.
And it was followed by two further draws, against mid-table Peterborough and rock-bottom Colchester.
There was a common trend in those last two matches - on both occasions, Latics took the lead.
Caldwell said: “Offensively and defensively we need to kill sides off, and when we get in front, we need to see them out and get the clean sheets.
“It’s a collective effort, and not one part.
“At the weekend (against Colchester) I thought we were excellent on the ball.
“But off the ball we were too casual - that was my frustration.
“There were two great strikes for the goals but I felt they could have been stopped further up the pitch.”
The surprise result, between sides at both ends of the League One spectrum, was a disappointment - but not a disaster.
And Caldwell says their run of three draws will take on a different complexion if they halt it with a victory against Bradford today.
“I wasn’t pleased with the result, our standards are higher than drawing games - we want to win them,” he said.
“But I always say when you get a run of draws, as soon as you put a couple of wins on the back of it they become great draws.
“So we need to make sure they’re good draws and keep us where we want to be.”
Bradford, though, are coming into some good form with just one defeat in their last eight games.
Their recent results - including a 2-0 victory over leaders Burton last week - have propelled them into the play-offs positions.
“I went to their game against Burton, who were top of the league, and Bradford beat them quite comfortably,” continued the Latics boss.
“It’s never easy when you play against them - when we went to their place earlier this season, it was the same.
“It will be a tough game and they’ll bring a big crowd, and make it a big game.”
While Caldwell is trying to keep the focus on their week-to-week schedule of games and ignore events elsewhere, he admits there is a certain edge to training as they head into the business end of the campaign.
He added: “It does change. We have had great intensity all year but as you get closer to the prize, it’s human nature, you start to see it, start to think about it.
“But we need to get back to doing what we do, setting standards.
“It’s one thing putting a team together and finding your way, it’s another thing to get over the line and achieve your goals.”