Jake Buxton admits Wigan Athletic will have to rise to the occasion this season to match up with the big guns in the Championship.
Latics travel to Sheffield Wednesday today looking to get back on track after signing off for the international break on the back of two successive defeats.
But they’ll have their work cut out, with the trip to Hillsborough being followed by Tuesday night’s gruelling trek to Norwich.
“People say every year that the division is getting tougher, but you look at the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County, and the big sides are getting even better,” Buxton told the Evening Post.
“The teams coming down from the Premier League – Newcastle, Aston Villa and Norwich – are also massive clubs.
“It’s no longer three or four clubs in contention for promotion.
“You’ve probably got a cluster of between 8-10 clubs, and Wednesday are one of those.
“They’ve spent an awful lot of money and it’ll be a tough place to go.
“But we’ve also got players here who’ll feel they deserve to be playing at the highest level, and we need to prove that.”