I said Grigg will deliver - Caldwell

Will Grigg
Will Grigg

WILL Grigg was the toast of Wigan Athletic after his superb hat-trick helped put hapless Port Vale to the sword.

And Latics boss Gary Caldwell insists there’s even more to come from the Northern Ireland international hotshot.

Grigg took his tally for an injury-hit season to 13 - with 12 of them coming at the DW Stadium - as Latics closed the gap on automatic promotion to just two points with 17 games left.

And Caldwell revealed he’d had a feeling his £1million man would run riot against a Vale side that had been on a decent run heading in.

“I’d watched Vale in midweek against Doncaster, and I knew Will’s movement would cause them all sorts of problems,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.

“I told him there would be goals here for him, and he’s gone and delivered.

“He’s been sensational in recent games, to be fair.

“His goals, and his general performance - his hold-up play, his first touch, his link-up play, his movement - was very good.

“And he’s shown that when he gets chances he can score goals.

“We missed him last week at Crewe. You could see that with the chances we squandered.

“If he’d been out there, we’d probably have scored more than the one goal that day.

“He came back with a bang today, and it’ll be great for his confidence.”

Grigg was the man chairman David Sharpe had in mind when he promised to land a 20-goal striker last summer.

And Caldwell says the ex-Brentford man’s more than capable of getting there - with the incentive of a European Championship to look forward to in the summer.

“Strikers are always judged on goals, and hopefully he can continue this form until the end of the season,” the Latics chief added.

“He had a slow start to his Wigan career for a number of reasons - joining a new club, international call-ups, injuries.

“But you can see the quality he brings week in, week out.

“He’s a constant threat to centre-halves and, when he gets chances, more often than not he puts them away.”

It’s the first time Latics have scored three goals in four successive home games, and Caldwell is delighted with that aspect of his side’s play.

“We’re scoring goals freely at the moment, which is always a good thing,” the Scot recognised.

“We’re creating chances, we look a threat from so many different areas.

“And that’s testament to the hard work being done on the training ground to make that come to fruition.

“Right from the first minute of the game we had a good tempo and good attacking intent.

“We scored three goals and we could have scored even more.

“If there was a negative to a 3-0 victory, it was that we didn’t go on and score more goals.”

Caldwell, a former defender, was equally happy with a first shut-out in over a month.

“That was important, and something we spoke about during the week,” he acknowledged.

“We knew we hadn’t had a clean sheet since Barnsley, and if you want to win football matches you have to start from the back.”

Results elsewhere also went Wigan’s way with Burton, Gillingham and Coventry all losing as Walsall had a weekend off.

However, Caldwell is not concerning himself with events outside his control.

“We just concern ourselves with what we do,” he insisted.

“We concentrate on performances first, and then results obviously come from that.

“We believe if we keep working hard and playing well, then we know where we want to go.

“But we still have a long way to go to be the team we want to be, and there are still many areas in which we can improve.”