Caldwell: Run-in will bring out best in us

Gary Caldwell
Gary Caldwell

GARY Caldwell admits having to beat a couple of promotion-chasing sides in their last two matches will bring out the best in Wigan Athletic.

Latics are currently five points adrift of fourth-bottom Rotherham, who are still facing a possible point deduction for fielding an ineligible player in a recent game against Brighton.

In these type of games, we’ve always found them easier to play in than the smaller games with less riding on them

Gary Caldwell

Even if, as expected, the Millers are docked two points, they still have a game in hand against nothing-to-play-for Reading next Tuesday.

Realistically, Latics will have to finish with back-to-back wins against Wolves on Saturday and Brentford the following weekend to have any hope of avoiding the drop into League One.

But Caldwell is far from daunted by the challenge, and reckons Latics can draw on inspiration from the 2010/11 campaign when they beat West Ham and Stoke in their last two matches to retain their Premier League status.

“Both of the games are going to be against good teams going for the play-offs,” he told the Evening Post.

“We know they’ll be difficult tests against sides with something to play for.

“But I think that will help us in some ways.

“While we have to open up to try and win the game, so will the opposition, which should make for an entertaining game.

“In these type of games, we’ve always found them easier to play in than the smaller games with less riding on them.

“I don’t know if my heart will be ready for that scenario - it is a nightmare watching on from the sidelines and you can’t affect the game directly - but it’ll suit us.

“It could be another West Ham game on the cards, with both teams going for it, end-to-end stuff.”

Latics were drinking in last-chance saloon against Brighton last weekend and secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory to keep alive their survival hopes.

And Caldwell admits the game-plan and mindset against Wolves this weekend will be very similar.

“We’ve spoke among the staff that this is another one-off game that we’ve got to win,” the Latics boss recognised.

“We’ve watched Wolves closely, we’ve planned training accordingly, and we hope we’ve come up with something that can win us the game.

“Already we’ve played numerous formations, numerous players, trying everything we can to give is the best possible chance.

“If we have to throw caution to the wind we will do so again, if we have to shut up shop we will do that as well.

“It’s must-win, and we’ll be doing everything we can to achieve that.”

The 81st-minute winner against Brighton was scored by James Perch, who had been told by his manager to stay back and allow others to go forward.

“There’s an eagerness from everyone to try to win the game, and that’s fine by me,” Caldwell added.

“If he sees that opportunity and wants to go and get us the goal then I won’t be having a go at him.

“I just thought the attitude of the whole team on Saturday was superb.

“It was a real team effort and you could really feel that after the game, the feel-good factor was back. It was a nice feeling.”