North west rivals Wigan Athletic stand between Wanderers and a place in the third round of the Carabao Cup.

The Whites reached this stage following a thrilling win over Championship side Barnsley on penalties.

Marc Iles caught up with Paul Kendrick from the Wigan Post to get the lowdown on the Latics ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to the DW Stadium.

There have been lots of changes to the Wigan squad over the summer. How are things looking?

It’s looking absolutely fantastic. 12 months ago, it was grim. We weren’t even sure we would still be here 12 months down the line. To see so much optimism from the new owners, it’s unbelievable.

We have had a great start to the season. It really is a new era, a new dawn and it’s fantastic from where we were just a few short months ago. It is not going to be an overnight rebuild, but what we have got now is something we are very happy with.

With so many new signings, has the team struggled to gel?

We had five players under contract at the end of last season. We brought in 11 players this summer so we have got a playing squad of just over 18 - any injuries and we are into the Under-23s.

Ambitions are high, we are looking at top end of League One and lower Championship players, so it as if they have come in with this promotion ethos. The players that have come in are promotion-calibre players but it is going to need so much time to gel.

I have actually been staggered by the brilliant way they have started this season – seven points from four games against four promotion-chasing opponents. I think anyone would have snatched your hand off for that given the number of new players coming in. The longer it goes, the more the tea will gel and understand each other.

James McClean has caused a bit of controversy recently. What is your understanding of the situation?

The interest from Wigan came in pretty late, I believe. A few weeks ago, I heard Blackpool were possibly mentioned. The end of the road had come for him at Stoke and his agent was probably gauging what interest was out there.

He probably made a call to Bolton to see what was happening and obviously Ian Evatt was adamant that nothing was ever happening there. If McClean needed to endear himself to the Wigan fans, that was grade A from the media playbook.

There is obviously a rivalry between the sides and it is going to be a big game…

Speaking to former players and even the ones who have just come to the club, they are all well aware of the rivalry. They are obviously the closest geographical grounds to each other. Over the years, there have been some cracking games.

The head-to-head record is really even and it is one that we all look forward to. It should be a cracking atmosphere and that is what we’ve missed over the last 18 months or so. Hopefully, the game lives up to that.

And finally, what is your score prediction?

I think it could go to penalties to be honest. Wigan will make a few changes. They haven’t got a massive squad but they will draft in a few youngsters. They did great in the last round at Hull.

I’ll go Wigan on penalties, and hopefully a big team in the next round.