GARY Caldwell hailed the impact of loan star Francisco Junior after the midfielder came off the bench to settle a tight game against Swindon.
Latics huffed and puffed but couldn’t quite break down a determined Town rearguard who looked dangerous on the counter-attack.
He gets the ball forward quickly, he gets our attackers in the game, and he gets himself into the boxGary Caldwell
But with 95 minutes on the clock, the on-loan Everton midfielder was on hand to prod home from close range to send Latics within five points of the top of League One.
“Francisco’s been in and out of the side, off the bench, but he provides a bit of quality in midfield,” acknowledged Caldwell.
“He gets the ball forward quickly, he gets our attackers in the game, and he gets himself into the box.
“We said at half-time that we needed more bodies in there to score a goal.
“He found himself in the box in the 95th minute, and he managed to scramble it home.”
Junior had been in the headlines before the game, with news breaking of him being arrested and bailed following an incident in a nightclub.
“It’s something we knew about earlier in the week,” revealed the Wigan boss.
“I’ve addressed the situation, and we’ll take it from there.”
Junior had joined the action just after half-time, taking over from Max Power who had started despite being laid low by a bug.
“Max felt a bit light-headed and a bit sick, so we took him off,” admitted Caldwell.
“He flagged it up at half-time and we got him off pretty quickly after that.
“There’s no other injuries or knocks. When you’re winning, everyone’s fine.”
Caldwell was also impressed with the performance of on-loan Manchester United right wing-back Donald Love, on his first start for the club.
“I thought Donald was outstanding,” added Caldwell.
“On his full league debut, to have that composure, quality on the ball and energy levels, was really pleasing.
“I spoke to him afterwards, and he said when he gets fitter he will be even better.
“I thought that was great because, if he can get fitter, what a player we will have on our hands.”
Latics - who extended their unbeaten run to 10 matches - now take a fortnight’s break from league action, with an FA Cup first-round trip to Bury next weekend being followed by the visit of Blackpool in the JPT the following Tuesday.
“We spoke about the importance of winning our last league game before two cup matches,” Caldwell said.
“It was a massive game in terms of keeping our position in the league and closing the gap on the top.
“We can go into the cup games now to enjoy them and try and keep our unbeaten run going.”