Latics travel down the M6 tomorrow to face Walsall in a massive game at the Bescot Stadium.
With both clubs chasing an automatic promotion spot and there being just a point separating them, this encounter has the feel of a cup tie about it, the prize for the winner could well be second place in the table with Gillingham facing a tough away game at resurgent Oldham. So a lot to play for.
Both Gary Caldwell and his opposite number, Sean O’Driscoll realise the importance of the game, especially with both clubs coming off the back of drawn games against sides that they were expected to beat in Oldham and Crewe respectively last weekend. A win for either side though won’t define their season, as there is still a long way to go, but it would be a massive confidence boost going into the home straight.
In the build up to the game both managers have been speaking with the media, let’s take a look at what they have had to say:
Latics boss Gary Caldwell – ‘We looked at the fixtures a few weeks ago and picked this out as a big game in our season in terms of promotion and where we want to go.
‘We’re looking forward to it and as I’ve said to the players, you want these games to come around, but you’ve got to be ready for them when they do.
‘We’ve been involved in some big games this year and this is another one, it’s got all of the ingredients to be an exciting League One fixture.
‘They’re at home and will have to come out to try and win the game. We can go there and play in many different ways, like we did at Sheffield United, we showed that we can adapt and we’ve got a game plan that we believe will win us the game on the day.
‘Walsall are a good team and I expect it to be a close game. I’ve seen them a number of times this season and they’re a very good football team, to me they play the right way and they have players who can hurt you.
‘We know it will be a difficult game, but as always we believe in our own abilities and believe we can win.’
‘It was disappointing in terms of the performance against Oldham last weekend, but we added another big point in terms of keeping us in the hunt for automatic promotion.
‘Keeping our unbeaten run going which now stands at 10 games was very important. We’ve been unbeaten and playing well, so it keeps us going and we remain positive going into a big weekend.
‘Walsall will have that exact same ambition to win as us because they’ve had a tough couple of results recently.’
Walsall boss Sean O’Driscoll – ‘It’ll be a challenge for the boys and we know looking at the fixtures coming up there are going to be some big games’
‘Wigan are arguably the strongest team in the division with their budget and the amount of players they have available.
‘Their expectations are really high and there’s an added pressure on them to get out of this division. They’ll have these games every week.
‘For us, it’s a great challenge and I think everyone is looking forward to it.
‘If we get two really good teams going at each other, playing as well as they can, then it should be a really good game.’
Check out the latest PWU Podcast – Walsall Away
What happened on Saturday? We were supposed to steamroll Oldham and glide into second spot, football doesn’t work like that though, just check out Rob’s off the terrace report!
Contents: Snappy intros (0:00); Oldham review with Rob and Nicky’s ‘enthusiastic’ From the Terrace report (0:30), too cold for Yanic? (5:20), carpet care issues (9:50) and Jussi wants second spot (12:50); get well soon, Michael Jacobs (15:20); Walsall preview including RefWatch (17:20), Tom Bradshaw’s true goal count (20:40) and goalfest predictions (26:50); classy fixture clashes (32:00) and Dev Squad/loanee updates (35:40); Paul’s bonus Saddlers profile (37:40); The Euxton Factor: Academy Edition (43:45)
The podcast can be listened to by clicking the embedded player below or downloaded to listen at you leisure by visiting www.buzzsprout.com