‘Not a grudge match’ insists Malky Mackay

Malky Mackay
Malky Mackay

MALKY Mackay insists this evening’s visit of Cardiff City is ‘just another game’ for him and Wigan Athletic – with three precious points the only thing that matters.

Mackay will be the centre of attention as he comes up against his old team for the first time since his well-documented departure in December 2013.

But the 43-year-old is adamant his sole focus is on reducing the gap between his men and Championship safety that currently stands at nine points.

“It’s another game, and there’s another three points to play for,” Mackay revealed.

“It has to be like that, it’s absolutely got to be – and that’s not me being flippant.

“All we’ve done is concentrate on ourselves, that’s the only way we’re going to get out of the hole we’re in – by concentrating on ourselves.

“It’s never about proving a point to anyone.

“I’ve been in football for a long time, at a number of football clubs, and you make friends and special moments throughout your career.

“They are the things you hold on to.”

Relations have been frayed since Mackay left the Bluebirds 14 months ago, but he refuses to let it sour his memories of an enjoyable two-and-a-half years in the Welsh capital – which included guiding them to the Premier League. “It’s a really terrific city, and I loved living and working there,” he added.

“I’ve still got lots of friends down there, and there’s some great people who work at the football club.

“I’ve got very, very good memories of my time there. The fans were sensational and we managed to do something that hadn’t been done for 50-odd years.

“Managers get sacked all the time, the world over. But I am very proud of what we did down there.”

Mackay is ready to hand Jermaine Pennant a sensational debut tonight, 72 hours after the ex-Arsenal and Liverpool winger penned a short-term deal following a successful trial.

However, midfielder William Kvist will miss the game with a hamstring strain, while Leon Clarke has returned to Wolves for a second scan to ascertain the extent of the injury that saw him stretchered off during last Friday’s 3-0 home defeat to Charlton.

“Leon’s had one scan, he’s gone back down to Wolverhampton, and we’ve decided he should have a second scan,” Mackay added.

“It’s a shoulder-blade issue, which is very rare in football. But the scan will hopefully show whether it’s a short-term or a long-term injury.

“I’m obviously hoping it’s a short-term injury, but we should know today if it’s a four-week injury or a 10-week injury.

“If it’s a 10-week injury, obviously he’s finished with us. If it’s a four-week injury, he’s not.”