BEN Watson turned his back on the chance of joining Fulham when he signed for Wigan in January, 2009.
And the cultured midfielder is determined to inflict more misery on the Cottagers at the DW this weekend.
It would have been easy for Watson – a born and bred Londoner – to have plumped for Fulham when it came to leaving Crystal Palace.
But the former England Under-21 ace has never regretted trying his luck up north, despite Wigan’s struggles over the past couple of years or so.
With Latics attempting to arrest a slump that has seen them lose their last seven games in all competitions, Watson acknowledges the importance of tomorrow afternoon’s encounter.
But he warned against the danger of taking lightly a Fulham side who, despite being only a point above the relegation zone, are more than capable of causing any team problems.
“You know what you’re going to get from Fulham, and they’re never easy games against them,” Watson told the Evening Post.
“They had a poor result last week against Everton, despite playing well, so they’ll be up for it as well.
“I know we lost at Newcastle, but there were a number of positives to take out of the game.
“We wanted a reaction to the Bolton game and we got one.
“And if we can perform like that throughout the season, we’ll pick up enough points. I’ve no doubt about that.”
Despite seeing their losing sequence extended on Tyneside last weekend, Latics were far from disgraced and created enough chances to have won the game before Yohan Cabaye’s late winner.
And Watson says it’s important Wigan maintain that level of performance if they are to ensure their league position reflects the quality in the squad.
“Everyone knows with the standards that we set every day in training that we’re a better team than we’ve been showing on a Saturday,” the 26-year-old recognised.
“And the only ones that can put that right are the players.
“The gaffer and the backroom staff can do all they can but we’re the ones that go out on a matchday and it’s up to us to do the job. We haven’t been doing that enough, and we had a couple of chats and it obviously worked.”
With tomorrow’s game the first of four matches on the bounce against sides in the bottom seven, Watson is well aware the next month could make or break the whole season.
“Fulham’s a massive game, but you could say the same about Wolves the week after that, then Blackburn and then Sunderland,” he added.
“Four massive games, four cup finals coming up, but four performances like we showed at Newcastle and we’ll start to climb up the table.
“It is early in the season, but I don’t think you can overplay the significance of games like this. From the moment you get the fixture list in the summer, you look at games like this and target them for picking up points.
“You have to beat the teams around you, and we know we have to perform well to do that.”
Don’t miss tomorrow’s (Saturday) Wigan Evening Post for more big-match previews.