GARY Caldwell admits his Wigan Athletic side have plenty of work to do ahead of the new season after their seeing them held 1-1 at Altrincham.
Just 24 hours after returning from a warm-weather training camp in La Manga, Latics were unable to translate their dominance into goals against the non-league outfit.
Performance-wise it was probably the worst we’ve had so farGary Caldwell
They deservedly took the lead through Billy Mckay’s wonder goal just before the half-hour mark.
But Michael Rankine levelled just before the break, and Latics were unable to regain the initiative in the second half.
They could have nicked it at the death when Ryan Jennings was fouled in the box, but James Tavernier saw his penalty tipped against a post and then away.
And on the back of behind-closed-doors wins over Queen of the South and Hibernian on Spanish soil, Caldwell reckoned it was one step back last night.
“I was disappointed overall,” he told the Evening Post.
“Performance-wise it was probably the worst we’ve had so far.
“I thought we started really brightly, we looked sharp in the forward areas.
“Certain things we’d worked on with the wide men and the full-backs worked well.
“But I thought we forced it too much down the middle too early, and invited our own problems.
“In the second half I thought we struggled, we didn’t keep the ball well enough.
“We didn’t get out of our half until late on when the young boys came on, and I think they all acquitted themselves really well.
“They provided us with a bit of impetus and we could have won it late with the penalty.”
The major positive was the fact 22 players got minutes under their belt, although the raft of substitutions after the break inevitably hampered Wigan’s attempts to regain control.
“We’re still not up to playing the full 90 minutes,” Caldwell added.
“It’s about managing the players and making sure they’re not getting into that area where the physical load is dangerous.
“We’re getting to the period now where players need to be pushed towards that 90 minutes.
“There’s still a lot we need to work on and improve before the start of the season.”