Gary Caldwell admits the fixture release for the new Championship campaign has given everyone at Wigan Athletic ‘a bit of a buzz’ as the players returned from their summer recess.
The Latics players arriving at their new Euxton training ground for day one of pre-season to discover their itinerary for the new season, which gets under way on August 6 with a long trip to Bristol City.
The players all came back in good spirits, and we’re all looking forward to working hard againGary Caldwell
And Caldwell acknowledged it’s helped the focus the minds of a group of players who’ll be hoping to hit the ground running after lifting the League One title last term.
“It gives you a bit of a buzz, it makes it seem a little bit more real,” the Latics boss recognised.
“You see the teams we’ll be facing next year, and you think of the challenges we’ll be facing.
“But you can’t really look into it too much.
“You obviously look at the first game, the games over the Christmas period, the last game, and certain dates do stick out.
“But overall you have to play every team twice, all clubs are the same, and we’ll look forward to that challenge when it comes.”
The Latics players - including Emyr Huws, Andrew Taylor and Billy Mckay, who all spent last season out on loan - were eased back into the swing after six-and-a-half weeks off.
And Caldwell revealed it was good to get back to work with in their plush new surroundings.
“I’ve been looking forward to this day for a few weeks now,” he added.
“The players all came back in good spirits, and we’re all looking forward to working hard again and putting different things into practice.
“We took it slowly on day one, getting them screened, getting them tested, seeing what level they’re at and taking it from there to build them back up to full speed.
“It’s a process we went through last season, so we know where we want to go and where we want to be.
“There’s also a few things we want to change and improve on, and try and be even better than we were last season.”
New signings Stephen Warnock and Alex Gilbey were also among the players put through their paces, with Will Grigg the only absentee as he continues to represent Latics at the European Championships in France.