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Match Previews

2015/16 preview - introducing Wigan Athletic FC

17 June 2015

Meet Millwall's League One opponents

WIGAN ATHLETIC

Founded: 1932

Stadium: DW Stadium

Nickname: The Latics

Position: 23rd in the Championship

Manager: As a footballer, Wigan Manager Gary Caldwell has been there, seen it, done it and got the t-shirt.

His playing career began with the Celtic Boys Club in 1995 and two years later Caldwell moved south of the border to Newcastle United where, in 2001, he signed his first professional contract.

Senior squad appearances proved elusive however, and Caldwell found him himself out on loan, first to Darlington, then to Hibernian, Coventry City and Derby County.

He was eventually released by Newcastle on a free transfer and returned north of the border to join Hibernian on a short-term contract. His performances impressed and at the end of the season his deal was duly extended by another two years.

Two successful years at Hibs and a growing reputation as one of the best defenders in Scotland earned Caldwell a dream move to giants Celtic, where he gained the respect and recognition of the home supporters.

Even the Scottish media nodded their approval when he was named as the Scottish Football Writers' Player of the Year for the 2008/9 season.

However, clouds were gathering on the horizon, and following a contractual dispute, Caldwell left The Hoops and in January 2010 signed for Wigan Athletic, excelling at the DW Stadium where he was soon appointed club captain. He was awarded their Player of the Year trophy in 2012 and the following year jointly lifted the FA Cup with Emerson Boyce after defeating Manchester City 1-0 in the final.

During this time, Caldwell's talent did not go unnoticed by the Scotland team selectors. In 2001 he was chosen to represent his country at U21 level, appearing 19 times and scoring two goals, and then for the senior Scotland national team, wearing the shirt on 55 occasions and, again, finding the back of the net twice.

Caldwell retired from playing in February 2015 and joined the coaching staff at the Wigan Athletic Academy. He was appointed the new manager of Wigan on 7th April 2015.

Key Player: Versatile defender Emmerson Boyce has been a mainstay in the Wigan rearguard since 2006, notching up an impressive 291 appearances for The Latics to date.

Boyce began his playing career as a youth at Aylesbury Athletic in 1990. He moved on to the Luton Town youth team, signing his first professional contract with the club in 1998. Boyce spent most of his first season warming the substitutes' bench but would gradually carve out a regular first-team place for himself.

In 2004, Boyce moved to Crystal Palace on a free transfer, and quickly established himself as the right-back of choice at the club, earning himself a Player of the Year award in 2006. However, with 12 months remaining on his contract Palace accepted an offer for the defender, and later that year Boyce moved to Premiership outfit Wigan Athletic.

International honours were also on the horizon for Boyce. His Barbadian parents rendered him eligible for the national team and in March 2008 he received his first international call-up for Barbados' World Cup qualifier against Dominica, a game they won 1-0. Boyce has gone on to make eight apperances for the national side.

Despite the coming and going of various managers during his time at the DW Stadium, Boyce's strength and resilience have remained a constant, ensuring his continued presence in the Latics starting line-up.

Top scorer: James McClean (6 goals)

Head-to-head: Millwall have the advantage over their Lancashire rivals with 12 wins in 27 previous encounters, with The Latics coming out on top on seven occasions and the remaining eight meetings ending in a draw.

Last time we met: The ink on the match report from our last encounter is still wet, having only taken place in April, in a game that saw The Lions come out 2-0 winners in a batle for Championship survival, although ultimately, both teams would face the drop at the end of the season.

The match was memorable for many reasons. For the desperate consequences facing each team. For the three red cards handed out by the referee. For the opening goal by Jimmy Abdou, a magnificently timed header that was his first for Millwall in two years. For the level of support given to newly appointed manager Neil Harris. And for the 92nd minute goal by Magaye Gueye which sealed the match for The Lions and sent the crowd into euphoria.

Millwall: Forde, Cummings, Harding, Abdou, Nelson, Beevers, Martin (Gueye, 68mins), Williams (Bailey, 42mins), Gregory, O'Brien (Woolford, 84mins), Upson (s/o 78mins). Subs not used: Archer, Fuller, Taylor-Fletcher, Cowan-Hall.  
Scorers: Abdou (74mins), Gueye (90+2mins)  

Wigan Athletic: Carson, Maguire, McClean, Pennant (Chow, 80mins), Kyung, Boyce, Bong, Perch, Pearce (s/o 78mins), Fortune (Waghorn, 52mins, s/o 60mins), Kvist (Ojo, 90+1min). Subs not used: Habsi, McCann, Barnett, Murphy.

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