James in the hunt to keep his place

Reece James
Reece James
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REECE James is winning his personal race against time to maintain his 100 per cent record for Wigan Athletic.

The 22-year-old, a close-season recruit from Manchester United, has played in all 17 league games this term on the left-hand side of the Latics defence.

It was just an impact tackle at Rochdale, and to be fair to him he soldiered on and wanted to stay out there

Gary Caldwell

He was forced off in the first half of Saturday’s 2-0 victory at Rochdale after suffering a bone-crunching challenge in the opening skirmishes, to

be replaced by Chris McCann.

However, boss Gary Caldwell expects James to be fighting fit when struggling Shrewsbury visit the DW

Stadium tomorrow afternoon, looking to become the

first away side to lower Wigan’s colours in the league since April.

“I think Reece will be fine,” Caldwell (inset) told the Evening Post.

“It was just an impact tackle at Rochdale, and to be fair to him he soldiered on and wanted to stay out there.

“He was playing down our side of the field, and I kept asking him whether he was okay.

“He kept saying he was fine, but I just thought he wasn’t quite running properly.

“And when you’ve got

someone like Chris McCann on the bench, who’s more than able to fill that position, I thought it was best to get someone out there 100 per cent.”

Also waiting in the wings for a rare chance to impress is Andy Kellett, who proved to be an outstanding deputy for James during last

week’s JPT victory over Blackpool, only to unfortunately lose his place for the return to league combat.

And boss Caldwell admitted he thought ‘long and hard’ before deciding to start with ever-present James ahead of ex-Bolton man Kellett at Spotland.

“Andy was one of the players I found it very difficult to tell he wasn’t in the squad on Saturday,” added the Latics chief.

“He’s not had a lot of training, and suffered with a few niggling little injuries, and I thought it was better for him to train and work hard rather than do nothing Friday, possibly go and just sit on the bench on Saturday, and then do nothing again on Sunday.

“I’ve spoken to him since Saturday, and he’s someone who’s ready to push for a spot this weekend.”