Leeds v Latics: Caldwell wary of threats

Gary Caldwell's Latics travel to Leeds United tonight looking for a first win on the road this season, but the boss is confident of coming home with three points.

Tuesday, 18th October 2016, 2:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 6:52 pm
Will Grigg came off the bench during Saturdays 0-0 draw with Burton, but Gary Caldwell has hinted he could change his starting XI

Latics slipped into the Championship’s bottom three over the weekend after their 0-0 draw with Burton, despite stretching their unbeaten record to three games, while tonight’s opponents suffered a 1-0 defeat at Derby.

But Caldwell would rather look at the bigger picture when preparing his side to take on Gary Monk’s men.

“He’s an extremely good young manager, he had great success success at Swansea and now he’s gone to Leeds at a time when they did need somebody to steady the ship,” said Caldwell.

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“He seems to have done that and they’ve picked up a lot of good results of late.

“He gets his teams playing the right way”.

Wigan have done a good job arresting their early-season problems at the back in recent weeks.

After conceding 10 goals in six games in August and September, Latics have kept clean sheets in their last two games, including a display last Saturday which saw some particularly impressive efforts to keep Burton out.

But Caldwell admits his brick wall-like defence will face another stern test tonight, and hasn’t ruled out making changes to the Saturday’s side, which saw striker Will Girgg come off the nbench in the second half.

“They try and play out, they play through lines and cause you a lot of problems so I’m sure it will be a very good game,” he explained.

“You have to look at every game individually.

“I’ll speak to the players and the staff and we’ll come up with a game plan which we believe will win the game.

“No two games are alike and you have to prepare for each game on its own merits. We have looked in great depth at Leeds.”

Despite an away record which has only produced two points from seven games so far, Caldwell isn’t worried about that heading into Latics’ clash with the side eight games above them on the Championship table.

The Scot actually thinks playing away at the moment suits his side more, given how sides in the division approach matches at home.

And he thinks the solid foundation put down in defence gives his side a solid threat which opponents should be wary of.

“I think away from home suits us a little bit more because we have such and threat on the counter attack,” he said.

“We don’t need to force the game as much as we do at home.”

Saturday saw the return of former skipper Craig Morgan from a seven-match injury lay-off, and Caldwell reported no fresh injury concerns going into tonight’s fixture.

And the manager was pleased with the extra options Morgan’s inclusion afforded him.

“It’s something spoke about at half-time, going three at the back and matching them up a little bit more,” he said.

“Two strikers up the pitch and to be able to go at that, obviously Craig was vital and bringing him on to do that, so he brought the normal composure that he brings to the game and we really gained composure at that point when he came onto the pitch.”

But even with new faces still to come back from injury, Caldwell wants to see the players build on their solid defence to fix their attack, which has failed to score since the 2-1 win at Wolves on September 27.

“With the run of games, three games unbeaten, two clean sheets, which was something we worked very hard on and knew we had to put right,” he said.

“Now we have to build on that and add a little bit more in terms of the forward play and finish teams off and be more ruthless in an attacking sense.”

If Latics win tonight, they could climb out of the bottom three.