Latics march towards the top with three wins from four.
- Latics make it a second consecutive unbeaten month in Sky Bet League One.
- Three wins from four games send Latics two points behind leaders Burton Albion.
- Just one goal conceded as superb form earns Manager of the Month honour for Gary Caldwell.
League form - W3 D1 L0
Position - 2nd
After it was confirmed the injury Michael Jacobs had sustained in January’s game at Crewe Alexandra would keep him out for a couple of months, Gary Caldwell dipped into the loan market to supplement his squad with Everton youngster Conor McAleny coming in until the end of the season.
The 23-year-old was thrown in from the start as Latics made the trip to Bramall Lane to kick off the month, and again Caldwell’s bravery was rewarded as the young forward followed up Will Grigg’s penalty to give Latics a 2-0 win in South Yorkshire.
The unbeaten run was extended to nine games with the win over Nigel Adkins’ side but Latics couldn’t make it three consecutive victories as John Sheridan’s improving Oldham Athletic earned a share of the spoils with a battling display at the DW Stadium a week later.
A crucial fixture beckoned for Latics next as they travelled to fellow automatic promotion chasers Walsall knowing defeat would put them four points behind Sean O’Driscoll’s side and seven behind leaders Burton Albion – it was pretty much must win.
McAleny continued his fine start to life at Latics with one of the best goals the club has ever witnessed as he thundered a right foot strike home from 35 yards home to give Caldwell’s side the lead.
An equally good hit from Sam Mantom levelled for the Saddlers and looked to have earned the Midlands side a point until another spectacular goal from substitute Yanic Wildschut sent 1,800 travelling Latics into elation as their side won the game in injury time.
Now in the automatic promotion spots, a fourth match of the season against Bury – with Latics yet to win against David Flitcroft’s side – was to close the month of February out.
Knowing the precious nature of their top two spot, Caldwell’s men were at their efficient best and won the game within 21 minutes as a Grigg double and Ryan Colclough’s first goal for the club blew our Greater Manchester rivals away.
Will Grigg celebrates as his season tally increases to 16 against Bury.