Latics Chairman Sharpe: Caldwell given a flying start

Gary Caldwell
Gary Caldwell
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DAVID Sharpe believes Gary Caldwell has been given a flying start in his Wigan Athletic managerial career.

The Scot was handed the job with five matches of the campaignremaining but was unable to save Latics from the ignominy of relegation to League One.

There’s no point in being in football if you’re not confident and ambitious, and I have every faith that we can back where we want to be

David Sharpe

Sharpe, however, insists the experience picked up by Caldwell during the past month will give him a fine platform from which to plot next season’s promotion push.

“As I said when I gave Gary the job, it would have been a miracle if he’d have managed to keep us up,” Sharpe told the Evening Post.

“We were eight points adrift at the time and it’s proven to be the case.

“For me, it was more of an opportunity to give Gary a look at the current group of players, the youngsters coming through and start to scout players ahead of next season which he’s already on with.

“It’s given him the best possible chance to be ready for June 25 when we’re back for pre-season.”

Caldwell has already shown his intent to give youth a chance, with four products of the club’s Academy – Lee Nicholls, Tim Chow, Louis Robles and Jordan Flores – featuring in the final-day defeat at Brentford.

And with a number of his of senior players expected to move on this summer, Sharpe expects that to the blueprint for the ‘new’ Wigan Athletic.

“It’s something we’ve not really seen – apart from Callum McManaman and Leighton Baines – for many years,” the chairman acknowledged.

“To have four Academy graduates involved in the matchday squad is something we’ve not been used to.

“But Gary wants to to make sure that’s the case moving forward and it’s something I’m passionate about.

“Fans always appreciate home-grown players – especially Wigan boys – and that’s the aim long-term.”

This summer will be the first chance for Sharpe to draw breath since taking over the reins from Dave Whelan back in March.

But he says he’s thriving on the challenge of following on in very famous footsteps.

“I’m not nervous, I’m confident,” Sharpe added.

“I’ve taken over from my grandad at a tough time, it’s never nice to see the club in the position we’re in. But I’m confident in the future – and that’s the only way you can be.

“There’s no point in being in football if you’re not confident and ambitious, and I have every faith that we can back where we want to be.”