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Thursday 17 August 2017

McClean on double for Latics

WIGAN Athletic have heaped praise on James McClean after the Ireland international came off the bench and masterminded a much-needed win for the Championship strugglers.

It's been a tough season at club level for McClean, who missed a chunk of games due to an injury picked up in pre-season and before Saturday's meeting with Derby, the former Derry City man had started just four league games and had failed to score for his club, though he was of course on target for Ireland in the Euro 2016 win over Gibraltar.

But he was called into action as a sub and netted both goals in a 2-1 win over Derby.

"James came on in the second half and finished the job off, he showed just how much he wanted and how we wanted it, it's a testament to the players we have," says Wigan boss Uwe Rosler as McClean scored his first goal at club level since last May.

Wigan team-mate and former Ireland U21 cap Rob Kiernan was also impressed. "James has been excellent. He's in good form and was annoyed not to be starting like any player would be but we need him whether it's from the start or to come on and make a difference," said Kiernan.

Ireland team-mate Keiren Westwood's form in the Championship has also been praised after he earned a second successive clean sheet in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Norwich.

"It became the Keiren Westwood show in the second half, with save after save after save he was pulling off," said Owls boss Stuart Gray, who was pleased with the manner in which Westwood recovered from a 3-0 defeat at home to Watford earlier this month.

"Norwich are a good side and were worried because they looked taller than us at set plays but Keiren showed what a top quality keeper he is with a man of the match performance.

"That is the best I have seen him play since I was here. It shows the character of the man because he a shocker here last time for Watford's second goal. It shows the mark of the man for me and the pride he has in his work and performance."

Meanwhile in League One, former Ireland U21 cap Conor Hourihane kept up his good form by scoring his eighth goal of the season in Barnsley's 2-2 draw with Bristol City.

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