Pen­nant praises Cald­well style

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Chris Hughes

IT IS im­pos­si­ble to judge Gary Cald­well’s man­age­rial abil­ity on just one game, but Wi­gan winger Jer­maine Pen­nant is al­ready sold on his new boss fol­low­ing Fri­day night’s draw at Ful­ham.

Pen­nant fired in the first of two Wi­gan equalis­ers, can­celling out Ross McCor­mack’s early ef­fort with a curl­ing free-kick, but, in truth, draws are no longer enough for the Lat­ics.

The ap­point­ment of Cald­well on Tues­day seems to sig­nal a re­turn to the pass­ing game the club were renowned for in the Roberto Martinez era and that will cer­tainly be a wel­come change of pace from the more di­rect, frankly in­ef­fec­tive, style seen un­der Malky Mackay.

Their re­silience also can­not be ques­tioned as Ja­son Pearce prod­ded home on 69 min­utes to se­cure a draw once and for all af­ter Matt Smith’s 25-yard stun­ner had put the hosts back in front.

How­ever, with his troops firmly en­trenched in the rel­e­ga­tion zone and with just four games re­main­ing, it is look­ing in­creas­ingly likely Cald­well will get to show his man­age­rial skills in League One next term.

Pen­nant, though, re­mains con­vinced the shoots of re­cov­ery are al­ready ev­i­dent un­der the manager who turns 33 to­day.

“We showed our qual­ity by com­ing to Ful­ham and dom­i­nat­ing the game for 90 min­utes,” said the for­mer Liver­pool winger.

“We were a bit un­for­tu­nate to not win the game and only come away with a draw.

“They had two strikes in the first half, good strikes, and we found our­selves 2-1 down but all credit to the lads, we didn’t drop our heads, we kept bat­tling on and got the sec­ond.

“I en­joyed get­ting the ball down and pass­ing it, it got me more in­volved, it got the play­ers up front in­volved as well too and it shows just how good we are tech­ni­cally.

“We could have played like this ten games ago and who knows what could have hap­pened – but each manager has got their own style.”

Cald­well’s ten­ure could hardly have got off to a more in­aus­pi­cious start at Craven Cottage as Harry Maguire’s poor header al­lowed McCor­mack to pounce – the Scot fir­ing in his third goal in as many games from the edge of the area.

Pen­nant has been a rare bright spot for Wi­gan since join­ing in Fe­bru­ary and did his best David Beckham im­pres­sion to curl the equal­is­ing free-kick be­fore Smith con­jured a mo­ment of even greater magic.

The Cot­tagers striker col­lected Ryan Tun­ni­cliffe’s pass and floated a 25-yard ef­fort into the top cor­ner for his 17th goal of the cam­paign.

Baf­flingly, Kit Sy­mons then sub­sti­tuted Smith on the hour mark, much to the dis­gust of the home faith­ful – a cho­rus of ‘you don’t know what you’re do­ing’ di­rected at the boss.

That vit­riol was then in­creased as Ful­ham sur­ren­dered the lead for a sec­ond time – Pen­nant’s cor­ner be­ing headed goal­wards by Maguire be­fore Pearce turned in the re­bound from close range.

“It was dif­fi­cult,” said Ful­ham striker Smith. “Their sys­tem worked pretty well against ours – we had to re­ally dig deep and work hard for each other.

“It prob­a­bly could have gone ei­ther way but I think a point is a lot more im­por­tant for us as they prob­a­bly needed all three.

“At this stage of the sea­son it’s about churn­ing out points.”

PEARC­ING STRIKE: Ja­son Pearce lev­els the game from close range as Wi­gan grab a point at Craven Cottage

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

scores MAC ATTACK: Ross McCor­mack

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