MIKE Pollitt insists the groundwork for the season-opening visit of European champions Chelsea begins right here.
It may be a mere 53 days since Latics closed last season with a 3-2 victory over Wolves – but today marks day one of pre-season training at Christopher Park.
And with 44 days to get themselves in shape for the visit of John Terry, Frank Lampard and co, Pollitt admits the hard work well and truly starts here.
“It’s important to get a big pre-season under your belt – it’s only five or six weeks now until the start of the season,” he told the Evening Post.
“Everyone wants to be raring to go when the big kick-off comes round, and so getting the hard work in now is fundamental to ensuring that happens.
“It seems a long way away now but that Chelsea game will come along in no time, and we need to be ready for it.”
The visit of Chelsea will inevitably evoke memories of Wigan’s first-ever game in the top-flight, when Pollitt was powerless to prevent Hernan Crespo’s injury-time rocket finding the top corner for the only goal.
It’s a daunting test first up for the class of ‘12, but Pollitt feels Latics can take heart from the way they ripped into their more illustrious opponents last time and hopefully this time come away with a shock win.
“That was many first thought when I saw the fixtures – that first game in the Premier League seven years ago.
“We gave a very good account of ourselves that day and we were very unlucky to lose the game against the reigning champions.
“It won’t be any easier this time round with them being European champions, but you’re never going to get any easy games in the Premier League these days.
“Having said that, if there is ever going to be a good time to play them, this might be it first up.
“Playing them in November when they’re in full stride might be a different kettle of fish.
“The first game of the season, everyone’s on more of an even keel, teams are still finding their feet, you never know.”
About to embark on his 25th pre-season in the game, Pollitt acknowledges things have changed massively since he was an apprentice at Manchester United in the 80s.
“I know things have moved on so much since I first started players don’t really have any time off anymore, they’re always doing stuff in their own time,” he added.
“I can’t speak for the other players but I’ve been going to the gym most days just to keep the body ticking over.
“If you don’t, at this level, you just get found out within two minutes.”