Every shirt is up for grabs, insists Malky

Ben Watson encourages team-mates as Wigan's development squad took on Morecambe FC yesterday (Tuesday)
Ben Watson encourages team-mates as Wigan's development squad took on Morecambe FC yesterday (Tuesday)

MALKY Mackay admits he’ll give every single one of his first-team pool the chance to prove they have a future at Wigan Athletic.

The Scot was at Christopher Park yesterday to watch his second string hammer Morecambe 4-0 in an extremely one-sided Final Third Development League game.

Wigan’s starting XI contained SEVEN players with realistic first-team ambitions, and the gulf in quality was apparent from the start.

James Tavernier, Thomas Rogne and Rob Kiernan made up three-quarters of the defence, Ben Watson and Emyr Huws pulled the strings in midfield and Andy Delort formed a £5million strike partnership with Oriol Riera.

Only one of the seven featured in the first-team’s 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough at the weekend – Watson’s eight-minute cameo off the bench after nine months out injured.

Despite Wigan’s lowly league position, Mackay has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal, and the new boss is determined to give everyone a chance to stake their claim.

“I already knew a few of the players first-hand before I arrived, and I obviously know of the rest,” Mackay told the Evening Post.

“But they’ll all be given the chance to show what they can do.

“It’s really up to the players whether they take that chance. I’ll look at what they do to impress me.

“You’re always going to get some players playing and some players not.

“The ones who are not playing are always going to be slightly unhappy, but I want everyone to feel as much a part of it as possible.

“In this division you need mental strength as well as physical strength to see you through, because it is a tough, tough league.”

Watson played 87 minutes yesterday to give Mackay a nudge ahead of Saturday’s trip to Sheffield Wednesday.

“It’s great to see Ben out there on the pitch again,” enthused Mackay.

“Everyone knows all about the player he is over a number of years, but it’s been an awfully tough time for him recently.

“I am delighted to have him back and it’s about gradually getting him back in to it.

“Of course, you’ve got to be careful about throwing someone in too quickly, too soon, for too long.”

With Chris McCann also making his first start in eight months last weekend, it’s a timely boost for the new manager.

“To get the two of them out on the pitch at the same time on Saturday was terrific,” Mackay acknowledged.

“It’s a really good sign for the football club moving forward, because those two bring the kind of consistency I’m looking for.”

Meanwhile, Mackay was yesterday stripped of his honorary membership of the Cardiff City Supporters Trust.

The Scot was given the honour in recognition of guiding City into the Premier League in the summer of 2013.