McCann’s case for the defence

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CHRIS McCann could be set for a new role when Wigan Athletic’s League One campaign gets under way this weekend at Coventry.

The former Burnley man slipped down the DW Stadium pecking order last term after a serious knee injury, and had been tipped to move on this summer.

And he’s been excellent in the last three games, showing his class and versatility

Gary Caldwell

However, not only has he seemingly survived the mass cull following relegation from the Championship, McCann looks to have reinvented himself at the ripe old age of 28.

Having played the vast majority of his football to date in the engine room, McCann has played much of Wigan’s pre-season programme at the heart of the defence.

Playing on the left-hand side of a three-man backline, McCann’s ability to bring the ball out and pick a pass has proved a huge asset.

Despite being forced off at the halfway mark of Wigan’s final pre-season friendly at Blackburn on Saturday, boss Gary Caldwell feels he’s already staked a massive claim for inclusion this weekend at the Ricoh Arena.

“Chris took a bang in the eye at Blackburn, but I think he’s okay,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.

“And he’s been excellent in the last three games, showing his class and versatility.

“He’s really making that position his own at the minute.”

With Jason Pearce expected back in training this week, Caldwell certainly has a welcome selection problem ahead of the weekend.

“I’ve got an idea in my head, and we’ll work on different things this week,” he revealed.

“The group’s really strong, really together, and it’s up to everyone to impress in training to make sure they put themselves in that starting XI.

“The formation we played at Blackburn was just to get people minutes out there, I wouldn’t read too much into that with regards next week.

One man who won’t be part of the build-up to Saturday’s game is midfielder John Lundstram, who has been on trial with Latics after being released from Everton at the end of last season.

The 21-year-old played in both of Wigan’s friendlies on their recent trip to Scotland, against Partick Thistle and Dundee, but did not do enough to warrant a further look.

“John’s not been with us since the Scotland trip,” added Caldwell.