GARY Caldwell last night outlined his blueprint for success at Wigan Athletic - ‘British players who know the club and know the league’.
And he admitted Tranmere midfielder Max Power will shortly become his fourth summer signing, following in the footsteps of Richard O’Donnell, David Perkins and Craig Morgan.
Caldwell was appearing alongside chairman David Sharpe at a fans forum at the DW Stadium - his first such event since taking charge as manager at the end of last season.
Responding candidly to every question sent his way, Caldwell admitted he’ll be looking close to home as he searches for the men to underpin a promotion push from League One.
“We will predominantly stick to British players,” he said.
“The risk is less. We want people who know the club and the league.”
The gaffer revealed Latics have been priced out of a deal for Chesterfield winger Sam Clucas after two failed bids this summer.
And Jermaine Pennant, who spent the second half of last term on loan at the DW Stadium, will not be returning after the club went as far as they could given their budget.
“We made Jermaine a great offer, but I think he’s going to be going elsewhere,” acknowledged Caldwell.
The Scot admitted promotion was ‘the only priority’ next term, adding: “When I get in the key players I want, I believe we’ll have a side you’ll be proud of that will be champions in May.”
Caldwell expects Grant Holt to play a key role next season, once the striker has overcome the knee injury that’s sidelined him since Christmas.
“What I can tell you from the conversations I’ve had with him is he’s motivated, he has something to prove to the fans and he’ll do everything he can to get fit,” Caldwell said.
“And I’m hopeful we’ll see the Grant Holt that Norwich City fans saw.
“If that’s the case, he will score goals at this level.”
The Latics chief also confirmed the departure of club captain Emmerson Boyce after nine years with the club.
“We offered Emmerson a contract that was reasonable for League One,” Caldwell divulged.
“It was far from laughable. But in football, that’s life - he didn’t want to sign it, and we have to live with that.
“I played with him, he’s a legend here and he always will be.
“He’ll always be welcome back here any time.”
There were humourous moments, too, such as one brutally honest question from the floor that brought laughter from the floor and also the stage.
“How did you end up taking the first penalty in the FA Cup semi against Arsenal, Gary?” came the question.
“I was the only one who wanted it,” laughed Caldwell.