Lat­ics are still on the climb

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Jamie Bow­man

WI­GAN man­ager Gary Cald­well feels there is still more to come from his side af­ter a blis­ter­ing per­for­mance against ten-man Port Vale saw the Lat­ics move to within two points of the League One au­to­matic pro­mo­tion places.

Will Grigg be­came the first Wi­gan player in three years to score a hat­trick af­ter the ref­eree con­firmed he got a touch on Yanic Wild­schut’s cross to give the hosts the lead in­side ten min­utes.

And Cald­well was full of praise for the striker, who added to his opener with a first-half penalty be­fore com­plet­ing the rout with a third on 69 min­utes.

“I told Will be­fore the game that I thought there were goals in it for him in this game and he came back with a bang,” said Cald­well.

“In re­cent weeks he has been sen­sa­tional in both his hold up play and the way he’s got be­hind de­fend­ers. He had a slow start here but in the last few weeks he’s been bril­liant.”

Vale went a goal down in­side ten min­utes af­ter Wild­shut’s low cen­tre caused havoc in the Vale six yard box with the ball find­ing its way over the line via de­fender Richard Duffy and a slid­ing Grigg.

Wild­schut al­most dou­bled the lead four min­utes later but was de­nied by Jack Al­nwick’s chest be­fore vet­eran keeper Jussi Jaaske­lainen pulled off an ex­cel­lent div­ing save from Matthew Kennedy’s header.

That was to prove the only high­light of the game for Vale who fell fur­ther be­hind five min­utes prior to the break when Richard McGivern re­ceived his march­ing or­ders af­ter haul­ing down Grigg in the box. The Wi­gan for­ward coolly dis­patched the re­sul­tant spot kick – fir­ing home off the cross­bar for his se­cond of the game.

With con­di­tions wors­en­ing in the se­cond half, Wi­gan con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate pos­ses­sion and Lat­ics boss Gary Cald­well was af­forded the lux­ury of hand­ing a de­but to new sign­ing Ryan Col­clough be­fore Grigg made the game safe with a fine fin­ish on 69 min­utes.

The for­mer MK Dons front­man ran on to a through ball into the left of the area and be­hind the de­fence, picked his spot and slid the ball low past Al­nwick and in­side the far post.

The win has in­creased the be­lief at the DW Sta­dium that a re­turn to the Cham­pi­onship could be on the cards for Cald­well’s men.

They strength­ened their squad in mid­week with the sign­ings of Sam Morsy and Col­clough, both of whom came off the bench to make their de­buts.

And boss Cald­well likes the di­rec­tion that the club is mov­ing in.

“It has been a long process to re­build the club to where we are but I think with our form in re­cent weeks you can see that things are com­ing to­gether,” he added.

“There is still much that we have to im­prove on and the play­ers them­selves can see ar­eas that they want to im­prove on.

“There’s a long way to go but there’s still work to be­come as good as I think we can be.”

De­spite their heavy de­feat Vale boss Rob Page felt his play­ers could still take plenty of lessons from the loss that saw their hopes of back-to­back away wins dashed.

Page said: “We didn’t de­serve any­thing out of the game. To come to a place like Wi­gan, play the way we did in the first half and give the ball away too cheaply, there’s only go­ing to be one out­come.

“You don’t need to give teams like Wi­gan a help­ing hand, and we cer­tainly did that.

“I thought Wi­gan were ex­cel­lent like they have been through­out the sea­son. They kept the ball re­ally well and we know they have qual­ity in their team. They’re in the divi­sion they are in be­cause they de­serve to be but it was a good lev­eller for us and a bit of a wake up call.

“Ev­ery­body is get­ting car­ried away, and rightly so be­cause we are where we are in the league, be­cause we have done well and have been con­sis­tent in the main.

“But that game was well below par.”

AN EARLY BATH: Port Vale de­fender Ryan McGivern is sent off by ref­eree Dar­ren Drys­dale

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

FLYIN’ GRIGG: It’s 3-0 as Will Grigg finds the net again to seal the deal

Will Grigg cel­e­brates his side third a;sld­kas

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