Ace Delort is striking while the iron’s hot

Andy Delort playing for Latics' Development Squad
Andy Delort playing for Latics' Development Squad

MALKY Mackay admitted Wigan Athletic first-team places are up for grabs – as Andy Delort gave the new boss another reminder of his striking prowess.

Delort has endured a frustrating start to his career in England, failing to net in his seven first-team appearances since his deadline-day arrival from Tours.

The Frenchman hasn’t featured since Mackay took over from Uwe Rosler last month, but has been in fine form for the Latics second string of late.

Two goals in a man-of-the-match display against Morecambe last week was followed by the only goal in yesterday’s deserved victory over Walsall.

And with Mackay again an interested spectator on the sidelines at Christopher Park, it remains to be seen whether the 23-year-old has elevated himself into the reckoning for first-team duty this weekend, with out-of-form Norwich City visiting the DW Stadium.

“Everyone has that chance, without doubt all the players have that chance,” said Mackay.

“I came here with no pre-conceptions about anyone. That being the case, everyone has to make sure they train to a certain standard and reach that every time they put on a Wigan Athletic jersey.

“If that’s the case they can springboard straight into the team.”

Despite the huge pressure on Latics to pull away from the lower reaches of the Championship table, Mackay says he is even prepared to drop into the junior ranks if required.

“I’ve spoken to the Under-18s about that and I’ve spoken to the Under-21s about that,” the Latics chief added.

“Performances and consistency over a period of time will lead to their manager talking to me, and I would have absolutely no hesitation in throwing them in.

“I haven’t had any hesitation at my last two clubs and I would have no hesitation doing that here.”

Delort’s goal yesterday came on the stroke of half-time, a tidy finish with his left foot after a clever run.

Strike partner Oriol Riera also came close to getting his name on the scoresheet, hitting the post in the first half and seeing a late effort brilliantly saved by the visiting goalkeeper.

Also involved and looking to stake a claim for weekend involvement were James Tavernier, Thomas Rogne, Rob Kiernan, Don Cowie and William Kvist.

Wigan’s third straight win improves their standing in the Final Third Development League West.