Youngsters giving Wigan Athletic boss food for thought ahead of Bolton Wanderers trip

Shaun Maloney admits he's been given plenty of food for thought over the last two matches about who will line up in the Wigan Athletic engine room on Saturday at Bolton.
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Scott Smith, 22, made his full league debut against Northampton on Saturday, and was praised by Maloney for his performance alongside namesake, Matt.

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GALLERY: Wigan Athletic fans enjoy their midweek trip to Carlisle!

Fellow Academy product Baba Adeeko, 20, was given the nod in midweek at Carlisle, putting in a man-of-the-match display, and laying on Charlie Wyke's goal with an exquisite pass.

Shaun Maloney has shown faith in several of the club's Academy products already this termShaun Maloney has shown faith in several of the club's Academy products already this term
Shaun Maloney has shown faith in several of the club's Academy products already this term
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With summer signing Liam Shaw named on the bench for the first time as he works towards full fitness, it looks like a straight choice between the two youngsters for the weekend.

And Maloney would be equally happy to field either player in such a pressure-cooker situation

"Baba I thought was very good at Northampton," said Maloney. "For a guy making his first league start, I thought he was brilliant.

"The pass that he played for Charlie's goal was exceptional.

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"And it's the same as I said after Scott Smith made his first league start on's the first of many.

"They've both got so many games to go, but they've both made positive starts, and we're delighted with both."

The Latics boss explained his decision making process over the last two games.

"It's been dictated by what the opponents are doing so far, and also what they do in training," he said.

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"Scott Smith didn't have a bad performance against Northampton, the change was purely tactical.

"And it's the same with the wide players, I saw something that made me want Callum (McManaman) and Thelo (Aasgaard) at Carlisle, even though Stephen (Humphrys) has been very good for us.

"I'll continue to make the decisions based on a number of factors."

Maloney also confirmed he will continue to wait for Shaw to get up to match speed following his summer arrival from Celtic

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"It's not part of the plan to bring these guys in slowly," he said. "I just picked the squad to try to win the game.

"I'd love to be that good where I can plan things deeper than that, but it's only ever about trying to win the next game.

"We'll definitely need Liam, but he's missed three or four weeks of pre-season, and it's the same with James (Balagizi)."

Latics surrendered their 100 per cent record in the league at Carlisle, although they moved up to minus one points on the ladder.

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They'll face a stern test so early in their journey back at Bolton, who are the early pacesetters at the top of League One – with local pride also on the line.

"We know we've got a bigger game coming up on Saturday, which we know is bigger for our supporters,” added Maloney.

"I think you know when you speak to people around the club, the media, and even people who work in our club, how big this game is

"You can't miss it really...we know.

"We speak about Bolton being a big game, but the reality is they're all big games.

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"When someone pays their money to travel up to Carlisle in midweek, you've got a responsibility.

"And in fairness I thought the lads gave the people who pay to watch us everything.

"If we can give a performance of similar levels to midweek, then we'll give ourselves a chance of winning on Saturday."