Gary previews ‘do or die’ Brighton clash.
- “It’s do or die, we have to win.” – Gary Caldwell
- Pearce news excellent as defender becomes available after ban overturned.
- “I want the players to know what the club means to the fans.” – Gary Caldwell.
Gary Caldwell takes charge of his first home fixture as Wigan Athletic manager on Saturday, as Latics continue to fight for survival in the Sky Bet Championship against Brighton & Hove Albion.
The former skipper, who has stressed the importance of continuing to believe as we enter the final three games of the season, gave his pre-Brighton interview at Christopher Park and began with the news of central defender Jason Pearce having his suspension for a red card on Tuesday against Millwall overturned:
“It’s excellent news that Jason is available for us again, but it obviously doesn’t help us for what happened on Tuesday night.
“It doesn’t help us gain any points that we could have got had it been 10 against 10 for the last bit of the game, but I knew at the time that it was an injustice and so did Jason, so we appealed and thankfully we’ve got him available for Saturday.
“He’s a big player for us, he works so hard each and every day and he’s exactly the type of player and person that we need at this club to help us move forwards.”
Reflecting on Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat, Caldwell continued:
“It was a tough evening, we were bitterly disappointed after the game. I spoke to the players and told them that whilst it’s disappointing, we have to go again and we have to pick ourselves up. Nights like that can’t happen again to us.
“We’ve recovered physically and we’ve looked over the game. There are positives to take from our performance, but there are still little bits we need to work on and get better at.
“The boys are doing everything they can in the lead up to the game in terms of preparing to apply the things they’re learning, so that we get thing right against Brighton.”
One of Caldwell’s positives from the Den was the debut of midfielder Tim Chow, who, after signing for the club as a 10-year-old, was introduced as an 81st minute substitute to replace Jermaine Pennant, with his manager saying he fully deserved his chance.
“As soon as I came in I wanted to get Tim Chow with the first team. He got on the pitch on Tuesday because of his work rate, his attitude and his ability.
“Every day he’s one of the top performers in training, he shows a hunger for the game and a desire to get into the team, and that’s just another thing we need from our young players to help us progress and improve.
“Tim fully merited his place to be on the bench and then to go out on the pitch.
“I’ve known time for a long time, he was in the youth team when I came here. I’ve worked with him in training and even played alongside him, so I know exactly what he’s all about.”
Looking ahead to kick off on Saturday, Caldwell said the team has a clean slate at home now and needs to get off to a flying start.
“This team hasn’t lost at home because it’s never played at home.
“This is the first game at home of a new chapter in Wigan Athletic and from now on our home is going to be something we want to make into a fortress.
“We want people to come to the DW and know that they’re in for a game, this is the first game of a new beginning and we want to start off with three points.”