GARY Caldwell admits Wigan Athletic are still coming to terms with how tough a division the Championship is.
Latics were one of the pre-season promotion favourites, but found it difficult before Christmas to combine the demands of their domestic commitments as well as their Europa League campaign.
Since Uwe Rosler took charge in December, however, Wigan’s form has been up there with top two Leicester and Burnley.
They still require a win from their last three games, against Blackpool, Birmingham and Blackburn, to secure a play-off berth.
But club captain Caldwell points to the results over Easter – a convincing win over Reading and then a dismal defeat at Burnley – as proof of how tough a slog the Championship really is.
“We knew a win on Monday would cement our place in the play-offs, and we were disappointed with the way it went,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.
“It was the complete opposite of what happened on Good Friday, but that shows how tough this league is.
“We’ve found that out all season - every single game is difficult, is competitive, and you have to be at your best to win games.
“Every game you play - whether it’s against the top of the league or the bottom of the league - is competitive, and teams never make it easy for you.
“But we’re still in a fantastic position, we still know what we have to do, and our goals for the season still have to be achieved.”
Caldwell and co had to listen first-hand to the celebrations of a Burnley side who clinched the second automatic promotion spot with their win on Monday. And he says that will drive Latics on to retain their own Premier League spot via the play-offs.
“It’s never nice watching other people celebrating, especially when it’s something that you’d like to achieve yourself,” the Scotland star added.
“But we understand it’s still something for us to play for,
“We saw on Monday how much it meant to the Burnley players to get back into the Premier League.
“And we’re still on course to do that as well.”