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Match Previews

GARY CALDWELL PREVIEWS LATICS’ TRIP TO SHEFFIELD UNITED

5 February 2016

Gary looks ahead to Blades clash as Latics aim to remain unbeaten in 2016.

  • Gary Caldwell talks Sheffield United, the transfer window and more.
  • Latics still on target for challenge set back in December.
  • Caldwell happy with transfer dealings and praises continued support from fans.
Speaking to Latics PlayerHD at Christopher Park on Friday morning ahead of Latics’ visit to Sheffield United in Sky Bet League One, manager Gary Caldwell said he can’t stress the importance of the club’s supporters enough, holding high praise for the backing so far this season as over 1,500 are set to join his team at Bramall Lane.

GARY ON… CONTINUED SUPPORT



2,257 supporters travelled to Crewe Alexandra for Latics' last away match.

“We say it every week that the support has been incredible, but it really has been and I can’t stress that enough.

“From day one at Coventry City where we took 2,000 fans, they’ve never wavered and even through the low moments we’ve had, they just keep coming back.

“It’s mean a lot to me and the players to see their backing every week.  I hope they’re looking on at a team they can be proud of, a team that is giving everything for their club.  We’re doing everything we can to get them the success they deserve and to get a big backing again is great for everyone.

“I hope they’re enjoying the way we play, because the players are enjoying it.

“The squad is on a new journey and it’s been a long road to get to where we are at the moment, but there’s still a long way to go to where we ultimately want to be.  The fans are on that journey with us, they’ve embraced it and back it and it keeps on gathering momentum.

“We’ll look to keep that momentum going with a result that’ll put a smile on their faces come Saturday night.”

GARY ON… THE 3-3 DRAW AT THE DW STADIUM



“I’m sure we’ve learned from the last time we played Sheffield United.  The last 25 minutes made it into a bad night.

“We got together the next day, assessed it and spoke about it honestly as a group and I think we’ve shown this year that we bounce back from low moments like that one.  It was only a draw, but it felt like a defeat.

“The team responded fantastically from the disappointment and started winning games straight away, showing that it hurt them as much as anyone.

“The proof came in the next two home matches because we’ve been 3-0 up in both games since.  I think the mental scars were still there against Chesterfield because you could sense it when they scored, but we dealt with their goal straight away and managed the game.

“To score three goals ahead at home in our last three matches is very positive, and I think the Sheffield United game has helped us to win those other two games convincingly.

“We knew before that game that Sheffield United had scored a lot of goals late on in games, we certainly found that out first hand, and they did it again to Colchester United.

“Nigel Adkins sets his team up to play in a way that they always give everything, and they push you throughout the 90 minutes.  There’s no doubt this is going to be another tough game.”

GARY ON… EARLY TEAM NEWS



Michael Jacobs remains absent after calf injury suffered at Crewe.

“Michael Jacobs is progressing, but it was a bad injury to his calf.

“He’s working very hard in the gym with the physios which will help him to come back stronger.

“He’s played a lot of football this season compared to the 12 games he played last season.  Hopefully the rest during this period will reinvigorate him and he’ll come back stronger towards the end of the season.”

GARY ON… CHALLENGES SET IN DECEMBER

“We’re on a good run so we’re looking forward to every game, but it’s getting to that point in the season where you feel every set of three points is crucial to where we want to be at come the end of the season.

“The players are confident, they’re excited to play games and they look fit and hungry which is great ahead of some tough matches.

“We set ourselves a target when we played Barnsley in December off the back of a bad run.  We had to re-group, we had a good week of training and we looked at things to improve on, and I think since then we’ve done exactly that.

“We set a challenge from that period, and we’re still on course for that, so we have to keep winning games and keep producing the performances we have as of late.”

GARY ON… THE JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW

“The transfer window went very well.  We reduced the average age of the squad and we brought in players who we feel are at an age that they’re hungry and want to be part of the journey we’re on right now.

“The players we’ve brought in can certainly improve as well, they have massive potential.

“Overall we have to be very happy with how the window went.”

GARY ON… CONOR McALENY



“Conor’s been great.  He’s shown a lot of quality, which you would expect coming from a club with Everton’s ability to produce players.

“He’s played games at a higher level, so I knew he would bring quality to the group.  He hasn’t disappointed us in training and he’s fitting in really well.

“The group is strong in terms of characters and I think anyone coming into it knows the standards that we expect.

“It’s a big opportunity for Conor.  As a player myself I went on loan a lot when I was younger, so I know it can be difficult.

“I had some bad experiences, but you recover from them.  Conor’s had some tough experiences too recently, but this is a great chance for him to play at a club on the up with players who are playing well in a confident team.

“He fits into the group really well and hopefully it’s an opportunity for him to really show the talent that he undoubtedly has.”



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