BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Wigan Athletic manager Gary Caldwell has backed Billy McKay to fire the Latics to the League One title this season after Dundee United were priced out of a move for the striker.
The Terrors were keen to snap up the 26-year-old, who scored 62 goals in three-and-a-half years with Inverness, however United boss Jackie McNamara yesterday revealed the deal was dead.
Reacting to the news, Caldwell revealed that the clubs were “poles apart” in their valuation of the Northern Irish internationalist and insisted he is delighted by the prospect of McKay remaining at the DW Stadium.
McKay made just one start for Wigan following his switch from the Highlands in January and is yet to score his first goal for the club – nevertheless, Scots boss Caldwell expects him to hit the goal trail this term.
Speaking from Forthbank, where the English side trained yesterday, the former Celtic and Hibernian defender said: “Dundee United made a few bids but did not meet our evaluation of the player.
“Billy is a Wigan player and he will remain so until somebody meets the asking price for him. Ourselves and Dundee United were poles apart.
“I still want to keep Billy and he will score goals if he is provided with the right service. Billy has scored a lot of goals in Scotland and I still believe he can do well with us in England.
“He has come down and struggled to get in the team but Wigan were struggling themselves and that has made it harder for him. He will benefit from having a full pre-season behind him and he will score goals.”
Wigan’s desire to hold onto McKay is heightened by the fact they lost Martyn Waghorn to Rangers last week – while the Gers also snapped up Latics duo James Tavernier and Rob Kiernan.
Caldwell added: “Given that Martin Waghorn has gone to Rangers, we are one striker less and I don’t want to lose anymore.
“We have Will [Grigg] and Billy [McKay], with Grant Holt coming back from injury, so we are looking to add another striker to our squad.”