Watson hoping to give Mackay selection headache

BEN Watson is hoping his successful reserve-team run-out has given new Latics boss Malky Mackay a gentle selection nudge for the weekend.

Watson made his long-awaited return from nine months out in the 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough on Saturday, appearing off the bench eight minutes from time in place of Adam Forshaw.

Ben Watson

Ben Watson

The 29-year-old has been counting the days to donning the boots again, having missed the thrilling end to last term as well as the first three months of this season.

But now he’s had a taste of the action again, he wants more – and is hoping a thorough work-out this afternoon (Tuesday) against Morecambe in the Final Third Development League West has sent a message to the new Latics chief.

Watson admits it was worth all the hard work and gruelling rehab to get back on to the field against Boro.

He said: “It’s been a tough nine months but you get your reward in the end, and that was the case on Saturday,” he added. “This is what you play football for – the buzz of a matchday.

“When you break your leg, your first thought is that you won’t be able to walk again, or run again, or play football again. It’s a slow process but it all comes together, and to be able to play again was incredible.”

ANDY Delort issued a strong statement of intent to Malky Mackay with a brilliant brace in Wigan Athletic Development Squad’s comprehensive 4-0 victory over Morecambe.

The French striker has endured a frustrating campaign to date, but showed the watching Latics manager what he can do with two goals that set his side on their way.

The opener, on 20 minutes, was a powerful header from James Tavernier’s right-wing cross.

And the ex-Tours man doubled the advantage 10 minutes before the break with a cool lob over the Morecambe goalkeeper.

It was all over four minutes later when Jordan Flores’ left-wing corner was volleyed home with aplomb by centre-back Rob Kiernan.

Delort and Kiernan both hit the woodwork within seven minutes of the restart as Latics threatened to steamroll the opposition.

And number four finally arrived on the 57-minute mark when Oriol Riera became the third Latics man to hit the woodwork, only for Flores to convert the rebound.

Ben Watson got another 87 minutes under his belt as he continues his comeback from injury.

Also in a strong Wigan line-up at Christopher Park were Emyr Huws and Thomas Rogne, with Mackay an interested observer on the touchline.