Caldwell: We’ve worked on our finishing

Will Grigg failed to score against Blackpool last week
Will Grigg failed to score against Blackpool last week

GARY Caldwell has called on his goal-shy team to be “more dynamic” as Latics aim to deliver some pre-Christmas cheer.

Wigan Athletic are sixth in the table but have failed to win in their last four in all competitions.

Furthermore, they have failed to score in their last three league games - to deflate much of the optimism from their 11-game unbeaten streak.

And Caldwell says improving their strike-rate has been a big emphasis of their training this week.

“We’ve done a lot of work on final third play, on combinations, on shooting, finishing,” said the Scot.

“There’s things at the top end of the pitch we have to improve on, we’re not going to shy away from that but we have worked hard at it - I’m sure we’ll see the rewards.

“There are a few issues but no goals in three games in the league is the main one.”

He stressed he was not pointing the finger at Will Grigg, who he anointed the best striker in the league just a week earlier, or any of the other forwards.

“Will won’t score all our goals to get us to where we want to be,” continued Caldwell.

“We have to attack and defend together. Centre halves need to chip in with more goals from set pieces. We need to be more aggressive from set pieces.

“The wingbacks, we’ve not had any goals for them and we’ve had great opportunities, arrived in the box unmarked.

“Midfielders need to take more responsibility shooting. It’s a collective responsibility, it’s not just strikers.

“I don’t believe at pointing the finger at individuals. We have to be better as a team and I’m sure with the work we’ve done we’ll be better.”

While Caldwell has been disappointed by their results over the last few weeks he says they are not getting disheartened.

And he has not lowered his pre-season target on finishing the campaign in the No.1 spot.

“It’s very easy to look at the result and say everything’s going wrong,” he added.

“That couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s so many things going very well.

“There’s 25 games to play - that’s 75 points to play for. That’s a lot of points - over half a season, so there’s a long, long way to go.

“We still know what our targets are. The players still know, I still know, and we’ll work very hard to achieve those.”

Barnsley, in 21st, are in the relegation mire but have only lost one of their last five games in all competitions.

Among that run of encouraging results was a penalty shoot-out win against Latics in the JPT.

“The JPT was penalty kicks. That’s 50/50 - a lottery,” said Caldwell. “We didn’t lose the game. We drew two each against a Barnsley team who were very motivated and worked very hard on the day.

“They made things difficult for us but we came back twice.

They know us, we know them and it’s just basically on the day who the best team is will win the game.

“They are in a false position.

“I don’t think they should be down there. They are a good side, a young side, energetic. “Their forward players are dangerous and they did cause us problems. We know what we need to do and we’re confident we can do it.”