Wigan Athletic: Shaun Maloney provides injury update and looks ahead to this weekend's game against Preston North End

Shaun Maloney says Wigan Athletic must be prepared to scrap for every point available.

The club are unbeaten in their first four games under the former Scotland midfielder, and travel to Deepdale this Saturday to take on Preston North End (K.O. 3pm).

Ahead of the game, Maloney provided an injury update, with one defender set to return to action.

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He said: “Omar (Rekik) has trained all week and will come into contention for the squad.

Shaun Maloney (Credit: Bernard Platt)Shaun Maloney (Credit: Bernard Platt)
Shaun Maloney (Credit: Bernard Platt)

Jack Whatmough has not trained so I’m not sure how likely he is to be available for the weekend.

“We’ll give him to the very last moment like all of the players, but it’s definitely just a short-term injury rather than anything longer.

“The squad as a whole is good, they have trained well and hard to be ready for the challenge this weekend.

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“We’re not really concerned about the recent record at Deepdale.

“From the Preston games I’ve watched, I think they’ve got talented players, so we’ve got to respect them because they can play through us.

“I know they’ve had some injuries in the forward areas but I really like them as a team.

“I like some of the rotations they’ve got in wide areas.

“They’ve got a real threat with that ball in behind, so we’re going have to be at our very best out of possession.

“I also want to see an improvement with the ball.

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“We’ve got to bring all of our best parts to the game, to nullify what they are good at and then hurt them with the talent we’ve got.

“It’s a challenge to look forward to.

“Every game is the same, in terms of we prepare to win it, but to do that we’ve got to earn the right first, so we’ve got to be prepared to scrap for any points we can.”

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Maloney says he’s felt comfortable returning to the DW Stadium as a manager, but knows he has a big job on his hands.

“There have been lots of friendly faces, but there’s another side to it where I’ve got to push extremely hard to improve the performances,” he added.

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“We’ve had a positive first four games, and within them there have been improvements, but we can’t stop there.

“I’m pleased for the players that the feeling is very different to the one I inherited when I came.

"It’s positive how they have taken to the new culture and the new training ideas, and then taking it onto the pitch.

“There feels as if there is belief there and a chance for us to stay in this league, but to do that we have to keep pushing the players as hard as we can to keep improving, and then on game day we need to bring that level of fight not to get beat.

"So far it’s been good but we need even better levels.

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“It’s vital to create a connection between the fans and the players, and all of the staff.

“I feel like we are slowly getting there.

“I hope the fans are seeing a team that is giving absolutely everything for any point we get.

“Every bit of support we get is appreciated.

“When we are in adversity and we need them most, they really come.

“The only thing I can think about is keeping the club in the division, and then in years to come we can give them moments where we are trying to achieve something.”