Barrow: No fear ahead of Brighton trip

Jack Byrne impressed off the bench during last Thursdays win over Barnsley
Jack Byrne impressed off the bench during last Thursdays win over Barnsley

Graham Barrow insists the big Easter Monday trip to Premier League-bound Brighton will hold no fears whatsoever for resurgent Wigan Athletic.

Chris Hughton’s Albion can rubber-stamp their promotion to the top flight with a positive result, which should make for a party atmosphere inside the Amex.

In the dressing room after, I heard them talking amongst themselves about believing, which was great for me to hear

Graham Barrow

But with Latics also in desperate need of points as they continue their own remarkable fight against the drop, Barrow says his men will be up for the fight.

“We have to be ready for the occasion,” acknowledged Barrow.

“They are a top team - probably at this moment in time the best team (in the division).

“Obviously with both teams after a result, it will be an open game.

“With the position we’re in, I don’t think we can afford to go there and park the bus.

“We’ve got to go there and score goals, which we’re managing to do at the moment.

“It’s a massive challenge - but we played very well against them here.

“The mood in their camp will obviously be sky high, but the mood here is also good.

“Looking at the lads after Thursday night and also last Saturday, they’re well up for it.

“It is amazing what results can do for a player’s confidence.

“They know now they can come back from anything, and what we have to do is maintain that feeling.”

Barrow believes Latics can take heart from their recent trip to fellow promotion certainties Newcastle, who were perhaps fortunate to come away with a narrow 2-1 victory after being pushed all the way.

“We’ve been to these type of arenas before and we’ve done all right,” recognised the Latics interim boss.

“We played all right at Newcastle even though we got nothing.

“We gave a great account of ourselves and certainly deserved something.

“I’m sure we can get ourselves up to put in a performance at Brighton.

“And if the performance is good enough, we’ll see what happens.”

Latics are looking for a third straight win for the first time in a year after back-to-back triumphs over Rotherham and Barnsley.

Having been drinking in the last-chance saloon for the last two ‘must-win’ outings, Barrow does not feel this one is necessarily do or die.

“I’m not sure it’s quite all or nothing,” he admitted.

“It depends on how the game’s going, but maybe a 1-1 draw would keep our run going.

“It’d be nice to keep the confidence levels in the camp high.

“But I think we could take any result and still be right for the last three games.

“We would have been in big trouble had we not won against Barnsley.

“Psychologically, not to have backed up the Rotherham win would have been a killer blow.

“I didn’t like the mood for about five minutes after we went 2-0 down.

“I thought the team went quiet, and they didn’t really convince me.

“Obviously the changes we made helped, and you could feel the belief coming back.

“In the dressing room after, I heard them talking amongst themselves about believing, which was great for me to hear.”

Latics will again be without the injured Alex Gilbey (knee), although Barrow admits he was encouraged by the contribution of Jack Byrne off the bench against Barnsley.

“I’m pleased for Jack, because he’s proving he is comfortable at this level,” Barrow added.

“Physically he’s sometimes not going to get back, but if we can get him on the ball high up the pitch he can pick a pass.

“It’s not great news on Alex, but we haven’t ruled him out for the rest of the season just yet. He’s still to see the specialist.

“Hopefully it won’t be for the season, because he looked like he really had something to offer.

“The lads played well on Thursday, but he could have given us something else.”