Derby clash could be battle of giants

Will Grigg is Wigan's top scorer with five goals in all competitions
Will Grigg is Wigan's top scorer with five goals in all competitions
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Wigan boss Gary Caldwell thinks he has got the perfect answer to Simon Makienok should the big Danish striker feature for Preston North End in the derby clash at Deepdale.

Makienok’s hat-trick in the midweek league cup win at Bournemouth put him in the frame to start the Friday night meeting with Latics.

At 6ft 7ins, the Great Dane presents an imposing figure in the PNE attack.

However, Wigan can go one better in terms of size in the shape of Dan Burn.

The summer signing from Fulham stands 6ft 8ins and will be assigned to shadow Makienok should he get the nod to start.

Caldwell said: “We’ve got Dan Burn, who is 6ft 8ins, so we know he’ll be marking him!

“Makienok will obviously be full of confidence from the other night.

“He actually played in a bounce game here a few weeks ago, behind closed doors, so we saw first-hand the threat he poses.

“I don’t know what their team will be because of that Bournemouth game and the travelling.

“Only when we get their team through will we work out what they’re going to do.

“We will make sure our players are fully briefed on everything they’re going to be coming up against.

“But as we always do, we will be focusing more on ourselves, trying to control the game and imposing ourselves.

“With the quality and the numbers which we have in the attacking area, I’m sure we can do that.”

This is Wigan’s first visit to Deepdale for a competitive game since April 2005.

The week after that clash, they were promoted to the Premier League.

Their stay in the top flight lasted until May 2013, their relegation coming just a few days after winning the FA Cup .

In the 2013/14 campaign, Wigan reached the play-offs but lost to QPR at the semi-final stage.

The following season, they were relegated to League One, Caldwell taking over a few weeks before the end of the campaign after Uwe Rosler and Malky MacKay had both been in post.

Caldwell guided Latics to promotion at the first time of asking, as they won the League One title.

The first six weeks of the season have been a bit of a struggle for Caldwell’s men, a run of four defeats halted by last Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Fulham at the DW Stadium.

Their top scorer is Will Grigg with five goals, four of those in the league.

A familiar face in the PNE side to Caldwell is his former Celtic team-mate Aiden McGeady.

Said Caldwell: “I think on his day, Aiden is a top-class footballer – a Premier League player.

“I played with him at Celtic and some games he was just unplayable.

“He’s done it against some of the best teams in Europe, so I know how good he can be.

“He’s obviously not shown that in recent years, but I think he’s got his hunger back and he’s ready to show everyone how good he is.

“We need to be ready to deal with that threat.

“I just used to kick him in training, so that was pretty easy!

“Aiden’s got two great feet, he can go both ways, and that’s another asset he has.

“Usually with a winger you can force him one way, but with him he can go right or left.

“Aiden was one of the quickest in terms of feet I’ve ever seen.”