Gary's inside plan to Burn the Cottagers
Gary Caldwell admits he's been bending the ear of Dan Burn this week as Wigan Athletic try to get back to winning ways against Fulham.
Latics are looking to arrest a four-game losing sequence when they entertain the Cottagers at the DW Stadium.
And Burn, a summer signing from Fulham, has added valuable insight on his former colleagues, to form part of Caldwell’s pre-game preparations.
“You’d be mad not to tap into that kind of thing, you always find out that little something,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.
“Myself and the coaching staff have also been working extremely hard, we leave no stone unturned in our preparation.
“I’ve been watching past games of Chris Martin, playing for Derby, trying to find out something else.
“We try and do as much as we can to make sure we’re ready for the game, and we’ll pass on the information we feel the players need to be aware of.
“After that, it’s all about the players, and they are the ones who have to go out and perform.
“I think it’ll be a good game for the neutral, two good football teams, with both sides wanting to play out.
“They have some dangerous players in forward areas, and we need to be ready for that.
“But like I’ve always said, we have to play our way, from the back, on the front foot, and control the game with the ball right from the off.
“If we can do that, I think we can cause them a lot of problems and beat them.”
The long-haul midweek trip to Norwich has meant this week has been tough to organise in terms of training and preparation for Fulham.
To try to combat the inevitable fatigue, Latics stayed down in Norwich after the game and trained in the area before returning home on Wednesday afternoon.
“I think it was a great decision for us to stay down in Norwich and train the morning after,” the Latics chief said.
“The sleep we had was far better than we’d had coming back at 4-5am, and having a really disrupted night.
“Everyone will be fresh and will be ready, and we have to pick a team to go out and win the game.
“I’ve watched the Norwich game back a couple of times now.
“And although it was another loss, I feel it was a big turning point – and it will be a big turning point when we look back on it.
“The strength of character you need to perform, at a big stadium like that, I think only players will be able to understand how difficult it is.
“I was proud of the players on the night.
“The way they performed after losing the two goals tells me everything I need to know about the belief and the mentality of the group.
“That gives me a lot going forward, and I found out a lot of positive things we can build on.”
Having finished the game in the ascendancy, Caldwell’s challenge now is to ensure they pick up where they left off this afternoon.
“When you’re 2-0 down, you obviously haven’t got much to lose,” he added.
“From minute one, we have to play like that, with no fear, with and without the ball.
“We have to be more aggressive, more on the front foot, and I think we will be moving forwards.
“Any time you finish a game strongly, you want the next game to come along quickly, and keep that momentum going, and we can’t wait.”