SCOTT Carson says Wigan Athletic are ready to embrace the challenge of the upcoming play-offs.
Latics will face QPR over two legs for a place in ‘the most lucrative game in football’ at Wembley on May 24.
Having missed out on automatic promotion thanks largely to their disappointing start to the campaign, Carson is hopeful Latics have timed their sprint to perfection as they look to regain their Premier League status at the first attempt.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s one we’re all looking forward to,” Carson told the Evening Post.
“Whatever’s happened during the season has gone, and it’s all going down to two and hopefully three games where anything can happen.
“The prize is there – to get back in the Premier League, –and it’s what every player wants to do.
“There’s not too many people in our dressing room who have been through the play-offs, and I think that goes for QPR as well.
“It’s a massive challenge and everyone can’t wait to get into it. It’s a one-off, tricky situation where you have to raise your game and make sure you’re on your game when it matters.”
Latics signed off the regular season with an entertaining 4-3 defeat at Blackburn, although it didn’t affect their fifth spot in the final standings.
Uwe Rosler made seven changes to his starting XI, clearly with one eye on bigger matches ahead.
But Carson acknowledges it wasn’t the ideal way to head into the post-season shoot-out.
“You never enjoy games like that as a goalkeeper or defender – to have the ball in the net three times inside 25 minutes isn’t great,” he recognised.
“I don’t know whether we took our foot off the gas, but to be fair to Blackburn they had an outside chance of getting into the play-offs and that gave them a spring in their step.
“I just think we were a little bit too open and made it a little bit too easy for them to attack.
“That’s going to get you in trouble no matter what level you’re playing at, and we have to put that right for the weekend.”
The appearance at Ewood Park was Carson’s second in the space of four days, having been recalled for the midweek win at Birmingham that cemented Wigan’s play-off spot.
Despite conceding four goals, the ex-England man had a decent game between the sticks – and he hopes to retain his place despite intense competition from long-time No.1 Ali Al Habsi.
“It was important for me to get another game under my belt, because I haven’t played too much since Christmas,” Carson added.
“That’s two games in a row now, and hopefully I can cement my place in the team for the play-offs as well.
“I let four goals in on Saturday but I don’t think there was anything I could have done about any of them.
“I managed to make a few good saves as well, and hopefully I’ve done enough to stay in the side.”