Caldwell ready to silence noisy neighbour

Michael Brown challenging former Latics team-mate Emile Heskey
Michael Brown challenging former Latics team-mate Emile Heskey

Gary Caldwell is hoping to be king of his neighbourhood after Wigan Athletic’s clash with Port Vale this weekend.

Returning to the DW Stadium in enemy colours will be Michael Brown, who just happens to live across the road from the Latics boss in leafy Cheshire.

And Caldwell admitslocking horns with his noisy neighbour will be an intriguing sub-plot to an already huge game at the top of League One.

“Michael lives just across the road from me, so I know him very well,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.

“Our kids are in the same class at school, and play football together, so I see him regularly.

“He’s a player you’d never get tired of punching on the field.

“But off the field he is a great person and a great guy to be around.

“When he plays, he wants to win, and he’ll do anything to win.

“To have the career he’s had, that’s something you need to keep driving you forward.

“It’s just fantastic how he keeps going, and he’s someone I have massive respect for.

“The physical levels he’s reaching at his age is incredible, and all credit to him to still be playing.

“But if he gets up to his usual antics on a matchday then I’ll be having a word with him myself.”

Latics have an immediate score to settle against a Vale side that beat them by the odd goal in five in the corresponding fixture back in September.

After a mixed first half of the campaign, a recent upturn in results means Vale arrive at the DW hopeful of making more ground on the play-off spots – making them dangerous opponents.

“Any time Port Vale play, they play with an edge,” Caldwell acknowledged.

“That’s where they are where they are in the table.

“They’re a hard-working team, very determined team, and if you don’t match that or their energy levels then you won’t beat them.

“I saw them on Tuesday against Doncaster, and they played with more energy and more desire which allowed them to win the game.

“We know it’s going to be a difficult game, and we know we’ll have to be at our best if we want to win.”

Latics could have two new signings in the squad for the game, having drafted in Sam Morsy and Ryan Colclough this week from Chesterfield and Crewe respectively.

Interestingly, both have links with Vale – Morsy joined Chesterfield from the Valiants, while Colclough was born and bred near Vale Park.

And Caldwell says he’d have no qualms in pitching in either or both if he felt it appropriate.

“They met the players on Thursday while they were doing their medicals, but they hadn’t trained until Friday so we’ll have to assess it before kick-off,” said Caldwell, who also rejected the notion Latics were buying their way to promotion.

“We haven’t thrown that much money at it,” he insisted.

“For the level of players we’ve been able to bring in, it’s a very reasonable price that we’ve paid.

“We’re well within our budget, we’re not a club that’s over-extending ourselves.

“I’m very aware of the budgets within the club, through the chairman and the chief executive, and we’ve stuck to them rigorously throughout both windows.

“It’s a difficult time for any club when they drop a division, and you obviously have higher earners than some of the other teams.

“But we had a budget at the start of the season and we’re still sticking to that.

“It just shows the ambition of the club, that we don’t want to rest on our laurels at any point.

“We want to keep improving, we want to keep bringing in young talent who will only get better.

“Like when we brought in Yanic (Wildschut), we want to work hard and make good players even better.

“As we progress as a club, they will hopefully progress as players as well.”