Boyce wants DW to be a fortress

Wigan captain Emmerson Boyce
Wigan captain Emmerson Boyce

EMMERSON Boyce has called on Wigan Athletic to make the DW Stadium a fortress - starting with tonight’s visit of Doncaster Rovers.

Wigan’s game in hand against Rovers is their first home clash of the campaign, the first of three over the next 11 days that takes us through to the end of the transfer window.

And Boyce wants the real Latics to stand up and exorcise the demons of Saturday’s disappointing defeat at Bournemouth.

“It’s up to us to make the most of these three home games and make the DW Stadium something of a fortress,” Boyce told the Evening Post.

“We need to make it a venue where visiting teams don’t want to visit because they know they’re going to be in for a hard game.

“That needs to start with three points against Doncaster, and that’s the good thing about this league - the games come thick and fast and you never have to wait too long to put things right.

“As a player, when you lose you want to get out there straight away and put it right, and that’s what we’re aiming to do.

“Every player was hurting in the dressing room on Saturday, and the only way we can make it right is by winning the next match.

“We’ve already found in this league that everybody wants to beat Wigan Athletic, because we’ve come down from the Premier League and we are the FA Cup winners.

“You saw that at Bournemouth and Doncaster will be trying to do exactly the same thing tonight.”

Wigan suffered their first league defeat of the season at the Goldsands Stadium, James Perch’s underhit backpass allowing Lewis Grabban to notch the only goal.

The visitors’ efforts to respond were hampered by the sending-off of Callum McManaman around the hour mark for a sliding challenge on Brett Pitman - who had earlier missed a penalty for the Cherries.

Boyce, however, says Latics are still kicking themselves that they didn’t come home with something.

“We know it wasn’t anywhere near our best performance of the season and we need to learn from it as quickly as possible and put it behind us,” he acknowledged.

“We started the game in a sloppy manner and we never really got into our stride, which was really disappointing.

“Going to places like Bournemouth you need to be at it right from the start or you’re going to be punished, which is what happened.

“You can’t say anything against Perchy because he has been excellent in pre-season, one of our best players.

“Those kinds of things happen every now and then in football, and I’m sure he won’t be trying backpasses from that area of the field in a hurry.

“But when you make a mistake like that, you’re hoping your team-mates can dig you out of a hole and unfortunately that wasn’t the case on Saturday.

“We seemed to be getting back into the game when the red card came. But even without Callum we continued creating chances and we could easily have nicked an equaliser at the end.

In the Doncaster ranks tonight will be David Cotterill who, like Boyce, arrived at Wigan in 2006 but made just seven league appearances in two seasons before departing for Sheffield United.

“David was a quality player during his time here,” Boyce recollected.

“He’ll probably feel he never quite got the opportunities that he deserved, but he’s done well wherever he’s been and will have a point to prove on Saturday.”