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Match Previews


22 September 2016

Caldwell looking for his side to put emotion to one side ahead of first league local derby with Preston North End in over a decade.

  • Gary Caldwell assesses Latics’ clash with Preston North End.
  • Latics travel to Deepdale on Friday evening in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
  • Caldwell: “We know the importance of this game to the supporters”.
Latics continue their Sky Bet Championship campaign on Friday when they travel to local rivals Preston North End for the first league meeting between the two sides in over 11 years.

Manager Gary Caldwell is hoping to build on last weekend’s draw with Fulham at the DW Stadium and has called on his side to turn their hard work in training into results.

Discussing preparations for Friday’s clash with Preston, Caldwell spoke to and the local press at the Wigan Athletic Training Centre, giving an update on injuries as well as discussing our opposition.


“I think we are always learning; last year right throughout the season we learned and we improved and got better as the season went on. This year, we have started from a better platform than the one we had the previous season and I think we are improving all of the time. It is now about turning that into results and that is the most important thing.

“Apart from Sheffield Wednesday, I don’t think we have been outplayed in any game, but for a little bit of luck or better concentration defensively, I have no doubt we would have got more points on the board.”


Latics battled to just their second clean sheet of the season against Fulham last weekend.

“We have worked a lot on trying to stop goals because we believe we are a threat going forwards to score goals. The main focus in training has been on defending but not just from defence, but as a whole team.

“I thought on Saturday we were excellent against a very good football team and we stopped them doing what they wanted to do by pressing high up the pitch and the forward and midfield players really putting in a high-effort defensive performance in.

“Last year it was a strength of ours; whilst we were a very good attacking team, we also got a lot of clean sheets and we were a hard team to score against. I’ve felt this season we have become a little bit more of a soft touch and we weren’t getting close to people enough and that can be down to the level maybe, because maybe there is a fear about getting too tight to some of these quality players, but we have tried to get that away from the players and give them a trust in one another whereby one may go tight, and if they get beat there is going to be a teammate there to cover and help you – I thought we showed that on Saturday.”


“I don’t know what their team will be because of their result the other night at Bournemouth in the Cup and the travelling they have had to do, so that will be interesting.

“We know them, though, we know the strengths they’ll bring and we will be ready.”


Aiden McGeady and Gary Caldwell played UEFA Champions League football together at Celtic.

“On his day, he is a top class footballer, a Premier League player, I played with him at Celtic in games where he was unplayable against some of the very best teams in Europe. 

“We know how good he can be, he has obviously not shown that in recent years but I think he has got his hunger back and he is ready to show how everyone how good he his again.


“I think derby games are for the fans really; as a manager or a player you try to focus on the job, the things we work on every week and the process of what we go through to try and win games. 

“You can’t get too emotional; we are obviously up for it because we know the importance of it to the fans because the result and the night is for them to enjoy so we will do everything we can to give them a win and make sure they enjoy their night.

“It’s great for the fans; there will be a big following from our away supporters and there will be a good home support too so I expect it to be a good advert for north-west football and the Championship.”


Stephen Warnock was named Latics' captain by manager Gary Caldwell recently.

“Since he has come to the club, he has been fantastic; he came in at a time last year where we were pushing for the league and he was a big factor in pushing us over the line with the experience that he brought.

“Every day he trains at 100%, makes tackles, has a desire to be successful and his experience is very important. He is somebody I know very well having played at a very young age with and against him and then through my career too.

“He is somebody that I feel can take my character and what I want from my team onto the pitch, he is a great example to everyone at the club.”


Alex Gilbey injury not as bad as first feared.

“Alex has had his scans and it is good news; we were worried it could have been a really bad one and fortunately it isn’t as bad as we feared. He’s had a twist to his ankle and his knee and the full extent of that we are not entirely sure on but so far it is positive news and hopefully he will be back soon.

“Reece Burke had an operation on Tuesday with a hernia, he should be back in three or four weeks.

“The long-term injuries always seem like a slow process and I have been there myself, it can be frustrating and it is important they stay positive and they keep working every day to get back.

“[David Perkins and Nick Powell] Two huge players for us for different reasons but to have them back was really important; Perks is somebody that energises the whole place every day in training. Even when he was injured, he travelled with us and came away with the squad because his character and influence on the group is great.

“Nick is somebody with great quality, he has shown that so far, and we need him fully fit and available as quickly as possible.”

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