DAVID Ball has been earmarked as the biggest danger to Wigan Athletic’s chances of getting back to winning ways this afternoon.
Latics entertain Fleetwood at the DW Stadium looking to bounce back from the 3-2 defeat at Port Vale last weekend.
They’ll have to keep a close eye on Ball, who was on trial with Latics over the summer before failing to earn a deal and returning to Fleetwood.
And boss Gary Caldwell is fully aware the 25-year will have a massive point to prove.
“Yes he probably will,” Caldwell told the Evening Post. “He’s somebody we had on trial for a while and he did very well.
“He’s a good footballer and a great lad. At the time, it just didn’t quite make sense for us to do it. We wished him all the best – hopefully not this weekend – and he’s definitely somebody the boys will have to keep a close watch on.”
Caldwell has a couple of selection problems ahead of the game, which is the first ever Football League meeting between the two sides.
Slovenia international Haris Vuckic has been ruled out, although the ankle injury that curtailed his involvement at Vale Park last weekend is not as bad as first feared.
Francisco Junior will also miss his fourth game in a row, although he will rejoin full training next week.
But Sean Murray has recovered from a hamstring strain and is in contention for a start.
Caldwell’s biggest dilemma is at centre-half, with Leon Barnett suspended following his late red card last weekend, joining injured skipper Craig Morgan on the sidelines.
The gaffer could revert to a flat back four, with Donervon Daniels and Jason Pearce at the heart of the defence.
Another option would be to switch Chris McCann from midfield, although Caldwell insists he’d have no qualms about throwing in new-boy Jack Hendry, 20, for a debut.
“I wouldn’t have any qualms about throwing in Jack or Adam Ansom, who’s the same age,” he added. “They’ve been excellent in training with us, they’ve showed their potential and they’re ready.”
“We’ll need to re-jig it, and we ‘ve looked at a few things.”
With Latics having gone 2-0 behind in each of their last two matches before being shaken into life, Caldwell also admits he’s toyed with the idea of handing Fleetwood a similar advantage from the start.
“I have thought about that, yes,” he smiled. “We used to do that as kids, giving the other team two-goal starts, and we should maybe try that against Fleetwood and see if it works!”