GARY Caldwell has called on his Wigan Athletic side to be far more clinical in front of goal as they bid to tame the Lions of Millwall tonight.
Latics will put their unbeaten home record on the line tonight against Neil Harris’ side, as they look to bounce back to winning ways after being held 1-1 at Oldham.
The sending-off of Jordan Flores 20 minutes from time was the turning point as the visitors, leading thanks to Max Power’s first-half rocket, were pegged back by Dominic Poleon’s late equaliser.
However, Caldwell feels Wigan should have been out of sight before Flores’ rush of blood to the head, and wants his side to start to translate their dominance into goals on the board to prevent further unnecessary dropped points.
“We’ve spoken about that with the group, that when we’ve got that much control, we need to be a bit more incisive,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.
“The goal we scored was a great strike but, apart from that, we didn’t have too many other chances.
“It’s difficult when the opposition plays a 4-5-1 like they did, and they have a lot of men behind the ball. But that’s something we will work on, and try to be more creative in that final third, and try and open up teams that sit back against us.
“I think most teams that have come here have had a plan to play against us.
“You watch DVD’s of how team play, and then you see them against us and they’re suddenly playing a different way.
“They’re showing us respect, and we need to find a way of dealing with that and making sure we can still win the game.”
Millwall will become the first side Caldwell has faced twice during his short time as a manager, having come out 2-0 winners in a crucial clash in South London last April that all-but consigned Latics to the drop.
It was a strangely familiar tale that night, with Latics unable to convert an hour’s worth of dominance into something tangible on the scoreboard and paying a high price for late red cards shown to Martyn Waghorn and Jason Pearce.
“That was a strange night,” acknowledged Caldwell.
“I remember we played well for an hour, before the sending-offs affecting the result.
“The stadium that night was full of passion, it put pressure on the referee, he wasn’t that strong and we paid the price.
“Thankfully we’re at home this time, we’ll have our crowd behind us and hopefully it’ll give us the advantage.
“Millwall are a team that plays with great enthusiasm, great energy and they work hard for each other. I played against their manager a few years ago and it’s very similar to the way he played the game.
“They played some great stuff at Port Vale a few weeks ago when I saw them.
“They’re a good side with some Championship quality still in the squad.
“They’ve also added some very good players and it’s going to be a tough test.”
Like Latics, Millwall have also taken time to acclimatise to life in the third tier following relegation from the Championship.
But the Latics chief insists the Lions will be there or thereabouts come the business end of the campaign.
“They’ve changed a few players as well as us, which is always the harsh reality of dropping a division,” he explained.
“I’m pretty sure come the end of the season they’ll be up near the top of the league.
“They are one of the best sides I’ve seen so far in this division, and we know we’ll be in for a very difficult game.”