New boy Callum is real deal
DELIGHTED Wigan boss Warren Joyce sang the praises of debutant defender Callum Connolly after the Latics’ crucial 2-0 win at Burton.
The England Under-19 defender bagged both goals just hours after joining Wigan’s relegation fight on a season-long loan from Everton.
His brace earned the Lancashire side their first league win in eight to move them to within three points of safety.
Joyce said: “When you look at a player you look at the qualities that they have.
“We are not a big side and it’s important we have full-backs who can head the ball.
“Full credit to him for his enthusiasm and bravery that helped get us the points.
“I’ve followed him for a long time and he is a player who has always been competitive, aggressive and solid.
“He is the type of player that we need to bring in to do the job we want.”
Despite the victory, Joyce was keen to play down the significance of winning the relegation six-pointer.
“It’s an important three points, but it is just three points,” he added.
“We have got some momentum but we have to keep working hard on the basics from now until the end of season.
“As long as we have the effort and consistency we will have a chance.”
The struggling Brewers have now lost four straight home games and disappointed boss Nigel Clough knows his side must put their poor form behind them quickly.
“It’s a frustrated dressing room, we have given away two soft goals at bad times and you can’t win games when you give those goals away,” he said.
“The players have to understand that when added time goes up you cannot concede.
“The second goal deflated everyone and it was hard for the players to pick themselves up.
“All that matters is the next 20 games. We are in a relegation fight, we knew we would be from day one, and we have to keep battling.
“We have to move on and we have to make sure we are not one of the teams in the bottom three.”
The win was richly deserved for gritty Wigan, who soaked up Burton pressure with ease thanks to a commanding display from the back four.
Michael Jacobs had an effort saved by Jon McLaughlin before Max Power whistled one wide as Wigan enjoyed the best of the early chances.
Chris O’Grady saw a goalbound shot cleared to safety by Stephen Warnock in the 38th minute.
Will Grigg then curled an effort just wide as the Latics launched an immediate counter-attack.
Wigan hit the front when debutant Callum Connolly headed home from close range in first-half stoppage time.
Warnock bravely blocked an O’Grady shot minutes after the restart as Albion came out with renewed purpose.
But the Brewers struggled to convert possession into chances with Jamie Ward’s miscued shot the best they could offer 20 minutes into the second half.
And they were made to pay when man-of-the-match Connolly headed home a Jacobs cross for his second of the match.
Matty Palmer skied an effort with three minutes left to sum up a poor and uninspiring Albion performance.
CAL TO ORDER: Callum Connolly celebrates his two goals ROAD TO NOWHERE: Wigan Athletic defender Callum Connolly stops Burton striker Chris O’Grady in his tracks