Malky’s orders: Keep Callum and carry on

Wigan's Callum McManaman
Wigan's Callum McManaman

MALKY Mackay is confident Callum McManaman will be able to handle the constant speculation over his future in the same professional manner as Shaun Maloney.

McManaman continues to be linked with Premier League outfit West Brom, who have already failed with one bid in the region of £4million.

However, Tony Pulis is believed to be ready to test Wigan’s resolve to hold on to their most prized asset as he reshapes his Baggies squad.

Maloney has been in this situation for a number of weeks, with speculation linking him to a number of interested clubs.

Latics even agreed a fee last week with Leicester City, only for the deal to fall through on personal terms.

The following day, Maloney came off the bench to inspire Latics to a 1-1 draw against Blackburn, laying on the equaliser for James McClean before hacking a late Rovers effort off the line in the dying seconds.

The Rovers game completed McManaman’s three-match ban following his recent sending-off against Sheffield Wednesday.

He’ll return to the fold this weekend against Huddersfield, and Mackay believes he need look no further than Maloney for an example of how to keep your mind on the job despite off-field distractions.

“I hope Callum would deal with the situation the same as Shaun has,” Mackay told the Evening Post

“I’ve only known him for a few weeks but he seems a really nice young lad, well grounded.

“This is the first time he’s found himself in this kind of situation, but I do think he’ll handle it in the right way.

“He’ll be disappointed that he’s been forced to miss the last three matches through suspension.

“He’ll want to prove a point to himself when he does get back on the field.”

Latics are determined not to lose McManaman – the man of the match in the 2013 FA Cup final – on the cheap.

They are also in no urgent need to sell, with the 23-year-old having two-and-a-half years left on his contract.

The situation with Maloney is different, with the Scotland international – who turns 32 on Saturday – out of contract in the summer.

MLS outfit Chicago Fire appear to be at the head of the queue for his services, although they would prefer to take him on a free transfer.

With Latics in such a perilous position at the foot of the Championship, they will not allow Maloney to go without appropriate remuneration.

Unless the Fire, or any other club, match Wigan’s asking price, the player will be staying at the DW until the summer, when he would be able to pick his next destination on a lucrative Bosman transfer.

That said, the MLS outfit remain confident they will secure the signature of a player who spent a chunk of his recuperation from hip surgery last year over in the States.

“In talks with Shaun, he wants to come to us,” Chicago head coach Frank Yallop is quoted as saying. “It’s just obviously Wigan have the player and they own him until July.

“We’re just trying to work something out. I feel we’ll get something done, whether it’s yes or no, in the next two or three days, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Centre-back Ivan Ramis has also made the gossip columns this week with Spanish outfit Real Betis interested in signing him.

Ramis is another of those players out of contract in the summer, and Latics would be open to a January move which would free up some of the wage bill.

The situation is complicated by the fact the 30-year-old has an ankle problem that will keep him out until the beginning of February.