Gary Caldwell has warned Wigan Athletic to beware a player he used to happily kick during training sessions at their former club Celtic.
Latics make the short trip up the M6 tonight to face Preston at Deepdale for the first time in over a decade.
And Caldwell has pinpointed North End and Ireland winger Aiden McGeady as the man to stop if Latics are to get something on the road for the first time this term.
“I think on his day, Aiden’s a top-class footballer, a Premier League player,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.
“I played with him at Celtic, and some games he was just unplayable.
“He’s done it against some of the very best teams in Europe, so I know exactly how good he can be.
“He’s obviously not shown that in recent years, but I think he’s got his hunger back and he’s ready to show everyone how good he is.
“We need to be ready to deal with that threat.
“I just used to kick him in training, so that was pretty easy!”
McGeady has made three appearances for North End since his loan arrival from Everton, whom he joined after very nearly joining Latics under Roberto Martinez.
The highlight of his short stay was a blinding goal on his debut against Barnsley, and Caldwell says his shooting quality is far from the only impressive facet to his game.
“He’s got two great feet, he can go both ways, and that’s another asset he has,” enthused the Latics boss.
“Usually with a winger you can force him one way, but with him he can go right or left.
“He was one of the quickest in terms of feet I’ve ever seen, tremendous trickery, and when he gets it right he’s a handful for the very best.
“It’s stopping it at source and stopping the ball getting to him that’s probably easier than stopping him.
“I might also give him a kick before the game if I see him.”
Latics will also have to keep a close eye – which shouldn’t be too difficult – on 6’7 Preston striker Simon Makienok, who scored a sensational hat-trick in the 3-2 EFL Cup win at Premier League Bournemouth in midweek.
“We’ve got Dan Burn, who’s 6’8, so we know who’ll be marking him,” smiled Caldwell.
“He’ll obviously be full of confidence from the other night.
“He actually played in a bounce game here a few weeks ago, behind closed doors, so we saw first-hand the threat he poses.
“I don’t know what their team will be because of that Bournemouth game, and the travelling.
“Only when we get their team through will be work out what they’re going to do.
“We’ll make sure our players are fully briefed on everything they’re going to be coming up against.
“But as we always do, we’ll be focusing more on ourselves, and trying to control the game and imposing ourselves.
“The quality and the numbers we have in an attacking area, I’m sure we can do that.”