Jake Buxton will be hoping Wigan Athletic can quickly rediscover their recent upturn in form in time for tomorrow’s visit of Nottingham Forest.
Before Tuesday night’s loss to QPR, Latics had managed to pick up points in five of their last seven games, boosting confidence as their survival fight heads into the last 13 games.
You don’t want to be chasing too much. The table will change throughout the next 10 games and I’m sure it will go down the wire as it does normallyJake Buxton
Scuppering an opportunity to climb out of the Championship bottom three, regardless of teams around them having games in hand, could act as a psychological roadblock as Latics look to a run of fixtures against teams around them such as Forest and Blackburn Rovers.
“The fixtures we’ve got, we’ve got a little bracket of teams in and around us and I think there’s another little section where we play Blackburn, Rotherham and Barnsley (on April 8 and 15) so there’s a little section and it’s very crucial we beat the teams in and around us and drag them into it,” Buxton said ahead of Latics trip to London last Tuesday.
“All we can do is concentrate on ourselves and try and pick up as many points as we can.
“We have to give ourselves the best chance of staying with the pack, and the more teams get dragged into the situation, the better it will be for us.
“You don’t want to be chasing too much. The table will change throughout the next 10 games and I’m sure it will go down the wire as it does normally.”
An encouraging win at Wolves on Valentine’s Day was followed by a goalless draw at home to Preston, which while many will agree lacked quality provided a precious point which could become priceless by May 7.
And defender Buxton admits looking to leave the field with points comes above all else in the situation Latics are dealing with.
“Over the course of your career everyone wants to play neat, tidy football, get it out from the back and get 400-500 passes per game but sadly the position we’re in, and where we find ourselves, we can’t,” he explained.
“We’ve got to stay in the game for as long as we can and try and score on the break or try and score from a set piece and that’s what’s come from all of us as a group.
“Both parts of the formula need to come together.”
But having admitted the fine arts of attractive football are not the highest items on Wigan’s agenda at the moment, Buxton is adamant performances leading up to their last midweek clash were good, and have been all season.
“The performances have been key and also finding a way to get points out of games have been crucial,” he said.
“The performances in general have been good all season but knowing what to do and when on the pitch, coming up against different opposition we’ve seemed to realise what we’ve got do as a group to find a way to try and pick points up.
“We felt like we’d turned a bit of a corner (before QPR) and as players and staff we’ve come up with a formula that’s about picking up as many points as we can.”