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Match Previews


15 July 2016

Boss delighted with double Premier League challenge.

  • Gary Caldwell welcomes pressure from ‘two of the top sides in English football’.
  • Andy Kellett and Reece James set to miss weekend’s games, but Will Grigg and Nick Powell set to feature.
  • Caldwell to use Man United and Liverpool clashes to gauge performance progress.
Speaking to Latics PlayerHD and the official YouTube channel at the Wigan Athletic Training Centre on Friday morning, Latics boss Gary Caldwell welcomed the added pressure on his players with the ‘hype’ surrounding Saturday’s opponents Manchester United and the excitement of the arrival of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on Sunday.


“It’s a very unique situation to play two games in the space of two days against clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool, but it’s something I wanted during pre-season, perhaps a week or so later into the schedule, but we had the opportunity when Man Utd came in an asked us for the game and I don’t think we could have turned that down.

“With the hype surrounding their club at the moment with Jose Mourinho taking charge of his first game, it’s good for our players to have that pressure in pre-season.

“It’s difficult to build that pressure up in other games, so I think it’s good that they’ve got these two games to look forward to.

“We’ve been working extremely hard for two and a half weeks now and we’re ready for these big challenges against two of the top sides in English football.

“It’s good to come up against managers of their stature, but it’s a friendly game at the end of the day, it’s not going to be a tactical battle, it’s for match minutes, especially for Man United and Liverpool.

“We’re a bit further ahead ourselves so now we’re working on how we want to play and being tested against top quality opposition is exactly what we need.”


“It’s great for the supporters that they can come and welcome back the League One champions and show their support for the players again in preparation for another huge season.

“We want it to be two enjoyable days out for our fans and a big weekend for them.

“It’s an opportunity for the players as well, because you always want to play against the best and they don’t get much bigger or better than Man United or Liverpool.

“Even though they’re pre-season friendlies, we want to test how good we are. This weekend will be a great gauge for us.”


“We’ll have two different teams because we’re trying to give everyone 90 minutes or in and around that amount of time.

“We’ll pick the teams accordingly in terms of how we want to play both games, and we’ll certainly prepare those teams to be ready for each opponent.

“Andy (Kellett) hurt his knee in Portugal and it’s actually quite a bad one.  It was I really innocuous incident though, he just flicked the ball and felt something down the side of his knee.

“He’s got a problem with his lateral ligament, so he’s getting that assessed by a specialist.

“Reece (James) is working with the physios to get over his ankle problem from last season so he probably won’t be involved over the weekend, but everyone else is fit.

“It’s a big shame for Reece with it being his former club, but he’s been training fine and he’s not injured as such, he just needs extra time to make sure he’s ready for the start of the season.”


“Ryan (Taylor) is someone with undoubted quality, but he’s had terrible look with injuries over the last few years, but when the opportunity came to get him in and have a look at him came about we were delighted.

“He brings experience to the group.  We are a young team, so to have that experience and his quality on the pitch is very important.

“We’ll see how he does over the weekend and next week and then we’ll make a decision.”

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