As Latics gear up for the visit of Walsall, Gary Caldwell shares his thoughts.
- Gary Caldwell previews Latics v Walsall on Latics PlayerHD.
- Jason Pearce out for two weeks, but Caldwell delighted with Junior and Grigg returns.
- Manager glad to recruit Yanic Wildschut and Donald Love.
“We’ve watched Walsall closely; they’re a very good side. They’ll be the first side to come here above us in the league; they’ll be full of confidence.
“We’re confident as well because I think we’re playing as well as we have all season. I don’t think we’ve got the points that we should have from our recent performances.
“It’s encouraging so far, as I’ve said before it’s going to take time, but I’m very impressed with how the boys have taken on certain things that we’ve put in place.
“Our patience in possession and the way we opened Millwall up on Tuesday was very good for a team that has only been together for a short space of time.
“Playing against two, deep banks of four can be very difficult and you can fall into the trap of playing through the middle too much and getting picked off and done on the counter attack as we did at Coventry City.
“There’s been a massive development in terms of the awareness of space and how to break teams down, but the disappointing thing was getting the first goal and not capitalising on that. I felt that it was our chance to win the game, but we didn’t.
“What they also showed me on Tuesday was character. I’ve seen it on many occasions already this year, and you can go along way with attitudes like that.”
GARY ON INJURIES
“Jason Pearce has got a mild medial ligament strain in his knee, it’s probably going to keep him out for two to three weeks, but knowing Pearcey he’ll be back much quicker, just like he was after his injury in pre-season.
“It’s a shame for him because he worked very hard on his own during pre-season, which can sometimes be difficult, he got up to speed quickly and got back into the team. He was starting to get back to his best form, but now he’s picked up this niggle. It’s something we have to deal with, and we’ve certainly got players ready to come in and carry on picking up positive results.
“Craig Davies should be available for full training on Monday. Haris (Vuckic) had an injection, but he’s still getting a little bit of pain in his ankle, but hopefully he won’t be too far away either.
“Don (Cowie) and Grant (Holt) got through 90 minutes on Monday against Burnley, and it’s an important stage of their recoveries now.
“As much as you get great training and you’re looked after well by the medical staff that we have, you need games, there’s no substitute for games, so it was good to see them both get 90 minutes and progress with their fitness levels.”
GARY ON WILDSCHUT AND LOVE ADDITIONS
“Yanic (Wildschut) is somebody we looked at earlier in pre-season and at the start of the season.
“Graham (Barrow) went to see him playing at Oldham in the League Cup and he was excellent. He’s got pace and power and he’s a striker that can give us options in that wide area off the left hand side.
“When he came available we were delighted to get him and he’ll add a lot to our striking options.
“Because of injuries it became more important to get somebody like Yanic into the group. Our squad is fairly big, but as you can see when injuries come you have to be able to adapt. I think we’ve done that well with positive results, but Yanic will be a good addition who can give competition for places up the top end of the pitch which is very important.
“I worked with Donald last season when I went to Hungary with Scotland’s Under 21s. He was somebody who caught my eye there, he’s quick, very athletic and he’s comfortable in possession having been brought up at Manchester United.
“I’ve seen him a number of times since playing for the Under 21s at Man United, and with the right wing back space coming available, he was somebody we identified early and we’re delighted to have him in.”
GARY ON GRIGG AND JUNIOR RETURNS
“It was really pleasing to have Will back in the squad, as well as Francisco (Junior) and Craig (Morgan). They’ve all worked very hard, Francisco made a great impact to the game and that’s what we’re going to need, the subs always have to be ready to come on to make an impact whenever they’re asked, and both Will and Francisco did that, helping us to get the point.
“It’s been frustrating not have Will available. He and Craig were just starting to get a good relationship together. We’ve had to be patient with both of them and I felt they were just getting up to speed, but then we lost them, Will with a freak injury that he could do nothing about, so to have him back on the pitch and seeing him do what he does best was great for everyone.”