Mackay hoping to bring the buzz from Boxing Day back to the DW Stadium on Tuesday.
- Mackay proud of support on Boxing Day and hoping for more against Sheff Wed.
- Manager happy with players staking their claim for the jersey.
- Grant Holt to have scan on knee injury.
Latics host Sheffield Wednesday at the DW Stadium in the final game of 2014 on Tuesday 30 December, and ahead of the clash in the Sky Bet Championship, Malky Mackay spoke to Latics Player:
“The training ground is buzzing after the Boxing Day win at Leeds,” he said.
“It’s a tough place to go in front of 28,000 people and we had a terrific support there, very noisy and vibrant, with a few strange and interesting costumes amongst them.
“It’s great for those fans to see how much the players care, and when the second goal went in and the whole team ran over to the fans, it was a fitting end to a good day for everyone.”
“This could be a great way to see out 2014. I was so proud of the fans and the noise they made at Elland Road, at times they were out-singing 27,000 other people.
“Let’s bring that back home again, get people coming out to the game and we’ll give you everything we’ve got to make sure we end the year on a high, I can promise you that.”
Latics travelled to Tuesday’s opponents Sheffield Wednesday a month ago, narrowly losing 2-1, and Mackay says the team know exactly what to expect from the Owls.
Watch the full interview with Malky on Latics Player by [clicking here].
“It’s another tough game, we played them a few weeks ago and they made it tough over at Hillsborough. We know what we’re coming up against, Stuart Gray has done a really good job there.
“Since Stuart took over they’ve climbed the league and they’re a solid team now, it’s going to be a tough game for us, but at the same time we’re at home and we’ve got to make sure we’re going to get our next three points.
“It’s been fine lines so far in a couple of the games, but I think at Leeds we showed the clinical nature to our game and we worked very hard in cutting out individual errors. They are the major positives we will take into the Sheffield Wednesday game.”
In the 2-0 victory at Elland Road, Rob Kiernan and James Tavernier both made their first appearances under Mackay, with the manager delighted at how they took their chances to impress.
“A couple of players took their opportunity at Leeds, James Tavernier and Rob Kiernan both played their first games for me and both did very well.
“For me that’s what it’s all about. When players come in they’ve got to make sure they stake their claim for the jersey and people will have to work even harder to get it back.
“That’s the culture I want to bring to the squad and we’ll keep striving to make sure that everyone involved with the first team set up knows that they’ve got to fight for that jersey.
“On Friday I think we saw the 100% effort the players are putting in because they know they’ve got to keep improving and fighting for the shirt.”
Mackay also shared his thoughts on the return of striker Grant Holt from his loan spell at Huddersfield Town, saying:
“Grant’s come back to us, but unfortunately he limped off in his last game for Huddersfield with a sore knee.
“We’re going to scan him in the next day or so just to see what the extent of the damage is before we decide what to do.
“I’m delighted to have a player like Grant coming into the squad. He’s an experienced pro and someone who is a proven goal scorer in English football, so it’s great to have him back involved again.
“It’s disappointing at the moment that there might be a little false start because his knee injury.”