GARY Caldwell feels the arrival of Yanic Wildschut at Wigan Athletic has helped to unlock an extra gear out of Michael Jacobs.
The 2-0 victory at Rochdale on Saturday made it 10 unbeaten in League One for Latics, Jacobs popping up with the second goal after laying on the first for Jason Pearce.
We now have two points of attack - we can give the ball to Yanic and he can run them, and if Michael can pull away from defenders then he can get the ball in those little spaces he likes to findGary Caldwell
After starting the campaign as Wigan’s ‘go-to man’, Jacobs has watched on in recent weeks as Wildschut has scooped most of the plaudits and headlines for his eye-catching displays following his loan signing from Middlesbrough.
But Caldwell believes - rather than having a detrimental effect - having a fellow creative spark with whom to dovetail can bring out even more from Jacobs. “I think Yanic’s arrival has definitely helped Michael,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.
“At times he’s been drifting into Yanic’s space, because he wants to get on the ball everywhere on the field.
“That’s great, but I’ve told him he needs to use Yanic to help his own game.
“We now have two points of attack - we can give the ball to Yanic and he can run them, and if Michael can pull away from defenders then he can get the ball in those little spaces he likes to find.
“I think they help each other in that respect. They provide space with how well they play, and how opponents get attracted to them.
“Michael’s used that space recently, and he’s been able to score goals because of it.”
Jacobs’ strike at Spotland was his fifth in the league for Latics from only 17 matches since his summer signing from Wolves.
His manager believes he’s capable of maintaining and perhaps even improving that aspect of his game.
“Michael’s been outstanding since he’s been here, I just love watching him play,” Caldwell added.
“He’s so eager to get on the ball and hurt the opposition.
“I said earlier this season he needed to add goals to his game, and that’s now five league goals he has, which is fantastic. He needs to keep doing that, he needs to keep arriving in the box. He’s a great finisher, and he could have had another in the first half at Rochdale.
“I’m always getting on at him in training, to hit the target when he shoots.
“He’s such a talented player, he creates so many decent opportunities for himself, it’s just his end product.