Caldwell longs for early Christmas present as Wigan look to get back on track

Wigan manager Gary Caldwell is looking for a change in luck as his side visit Barnsley in their final fixture before Christmas.

Latics’ have not won in four games in all competitions and are in danger of slipping out of the play-off positions before the New Year if they are not careful.

Caldwell was in good spirits though and said his players have been learning a lot from recent defeats and need to be more daring in the final third.

He also credited the squad for their work in the community this week, with various visits around the town and borough to spread Christmas cheer.

“We’ve looked over last week’s defeat to Blackpool and went through the negative points and the positive points of the performance,” he said.

“We’re still getting a lot of things right, but our play in the final third has to be better, has to be more dynamic and we have to be more daring in terms of the runs we make.

“We’ve worked a lot on that this week and the boys have been very good in training.”

After a good run of form that saw Wigan lose just two matches in almost three months they have now lost two of the last three league games without scoring a single goal.

“It was particularly frustrating because it wasn’t a lack of application, work rate or talent that lost us that game against Blackpool, it’s more a case of needing to be braver in the final third and having the quality to cut teams open,” said Caldwell.

“We also have to be better defensively, because last weekend should have been 0-0.  We shouldn’t be conceding a goal from a set piece against a team who didn’t cause us many problems.”

Despite the poor run recently, Latics’ are still only five points from an automatic place and three points at the weekend could push them even closer.

“It’s not so much a case of redeeming ourselves from the defeat to Barnsley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, it’s another game in League One and that’s our only target this year, and has been since the very first day of pre-season,” said Caldwell.

“The league is tight right from mid-table to second or third place, Burton have a little bit of a gap at the top, so we have to close that gap and keep chipping away to get where we want to be.”

The manager was quick to put things into perspective however as the squad embarked on their annual trip to local communities in the area to try and spread some Christmas cheer.

“It’s great for the players to get out and mix with the local community,” he said.

“It’s very important for us as a club to look out to the community and the people of Wigan, especially at this time of year.

“We try to help those that are not as fortunate as we are, and it seems like everyone has enjoyed our visits, from the players to the staff and children at each place we visited.”

Image courtesy of Wigan Athletic via YouTube, with thanks.

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