CHRIS McCann admits he’s thriving in his new role on the left-hand side of the Wigan Athletic defence.
The 28-year-old has spent the vast majority of his career in the centre of the midfield, at both Wigan and his former club Burnley.
But this term he has been reinvented as a left-sided defender, both in a three-man central defence and, more recently, in a full-back role.
And McCann’s been given a new lease of life, helping Latics put together an unbeaten run of nine matches that has seen them climb to within a point of automatic promotion.
“The formation we’ve been playing this season, with the wing-backs, suits my game,” he told the Evening Post.
“The gaffer’s been encouraging me to get myself forward, with no real onus to stay back and defend.
“The space is always there to drive into, and I was able to do that again at Sheffield United on Saturday, even though we were playing a back four.
“I managed to win a penalty as well as get another couple of runs into the area, and I’m enjoying the role.”
Defence is proving the best form of attack at the moment, with Latics looking to keep a third clean sheet on the spin this weekend when they host struggling Oldham.
Only long-time leaders Burton (25) have conceded fewer goals than the 29 Latics have shipped this term.
And McCann says becoming the first team to shut out free-scoring Sheffield United on their own pitch underlined the increasingly watertight nature of the Latics backline.
“Clean sheets always breed confidence, especially against a team that is known for scoring goals,” he added.
“They’re a very difficult side to play against, and it was very satisfying to shut them out.
“Not many teams will go there and keep a clean sheet this season.
“It keeps the momentum going, and closes the gap on the top two which is also nice to see.”