MALKY Mackay has called on Wigan Athletic to keep their cool in the cauldron of Norwich City to keep their survival hopes alive.
Latics make the long trip south tonight (Wednesday) into a real lion’s den of an atmosphere, with the Canaries in red-hot form and going all-out for promotion.
We’ve got to go there and be battle-hardened, and match them from the off, because they come out of the traps fastMalky Mackay
Mackay, a former Norwich favourite during his playing days, wants his men to stand strong from the off - and earn the right to play their football.
“We’ve got to go there and be battle-hardened, and match them from the off, because they come out of the traps fast,” Mackay told the Evening Post.
“There’ll be a tremendous atmosphere, with a crowd of 27,000 in the stadium, under the lights, and we need to compete and match them man for man.
“We need to enjoy and embrace that atmosphere. It’ll be another big test for us.
“It’s about being nice and calm, and focusing purely on your strengths and their weaknesses.”
Mackay will spend the hours up to kick-off musing whether to tinker with a winning team, or freshening things up with the games coming thick and fast.
“You obviously want that momentum, but it’s also about seeing who’s fresh, who’s available, who’s fit and who’s looking good and tweaking the selection for each game,” he acknowledged.
“We don’t have a big squad here. We have 18/19 players who we can select from, I don’t have the luxury of being able to rotate too much.”
Mackay admits he’s looking forward to returning to Carrow Road - albeit this time in enemy colours.
“I’ve got a lot of fond memories of my time in Norwich and Norfolk as a whole,” the Latics chief revealed.
“They’re really good people, we lived among them, my son was born down there, we managed to win promotion on the field and I also made my international debut during my time there.”
Mackay reported no fresh injury problems from the 3-1 victory at Blackpool last weekend, with William Kvist (hamstring) remaining on the sidelines.
Meanwhile, the Latics boss poured cold water on recent reports claiming Gary Caldwell had been forced to call it a day due to injury.
Reports attributed to Caldwell appeared to suggest the 32-year-old had called time on his playing days due to a long-standing hip problem.
“The reporter has got his wires crossed there, or he’s come out with something that’s not quite right,” Mackay insisted. “Gary’s not retired.”
The FA last night revealed their investigation into the texts exchanged by Mackay during his time as Cardiff boss has been extended after “significant new information” had been passed to them. “Due to the emergence of significant new information, the FA is currently not in a position to conclude its ongoing enquiries into the allegations relating to Malky Mackay and Iain Moody,” said an FA spokesman.