Latics had a frustrating afternoon in Essex last Saturday when they were held by bottom of the league Colchester United. For most of the game they were the dominant team but two exceptional long distance strikes and a dubious penalty enabled the U’s to claim an unlikely draw.
Latics have now gone three games without a win and Gary Caldwell will be concerned that his team has been unable to kill off their opponents when they are on top, in particular against Peterborough and Colchester.
They managed a good point at Millwall after playing most of the game with ten men, but they failed to capitalise on their numerous goalscoring opportunities against Peterborough and Colchester.
Caldwell showed his anger and disappointment in the post-match interviews at Colchester.
“It was a game we totally controlled and we should have been more goals up at half-time than we were.
We created lots of chances first-half and didn’t put them away, something we should have done, and then second-half we paid the price.
We can’t really take a positive from getting a point; we came here to win the game and that’s what you have to do if you want to be successful and we didn’t do it.
We’ve got to work hard now; we have got to find players that don’t have that complacency and don’t take their foot off the pedal and then punish teams when we are on top.”
Caldwell had just come from reading the riot act to his players in the dressing room and it could be just the thing to get a big response from his team in the next game against Bradford City.
The manager was equally critical when Latics surrendered a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 at home to Sheffield United. They then went on to beat Chesterfield in their next game 3-1 and they are, of course, still unbeaten in 15 games.
Bradford are the form team in League One having recently broken into the play-off zone and only losing one of their last eight games. They are a big physically strong team who are dangerous at set pieces and Latics will have to be back to their best if they are to get the three points.
They could be boosted by the return of defender Jason Pearce and forward Conor McAleny and creative midfielder Michael Jacobs may not be too far off returning to the squad.
Caldwell will be expecting a big reaction from his players after the three recent draws. They now need to show their mental as well as their physical strength if they are to achieve promotion.
This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 18th March 2016.