David Perkins admits this weekend’s visit of Ipswich ‘can’t come soon enough’ for struggling Wigan Athletic.
Latics are desperate to arrest a slump that has seen them slip to second bottom in the Championship, having failed to win or even score a goal in their last five games at the DW Stadium.
But after a horror run of fixtures to welcome new boss Warren Joyce – Reading (h), Barnsley (a), Huddersfield (a), Derby (h), Aston Villa (a) and Newcastle (h) – Latics now have back-to-back fixtures against fellow strugglers Ipswich on Saturday and Rotherham on Boxing Day to sink their teeth into.
And Perkins says Latics need to take full advantage of the double-header if they are to fight their way out of relegation trouble.
“These next two games, without paying any disrespect to Ipswich and Rotherham, we’ll really be looking to get after them and be positive from the word go,” Perkins told the Evening Post.
“They’re massive games, and if we can get six points from these next two games it can really kick us on into the New Year.”
To get back to winning ways against the Tractor Boys, Latics would have to register their first home goal since September 27.
But Perkins denies there is any sort of mental block now affecting the side in that area.
“It’s not something that’s been particular mentioned in the dressing room,” the 34-year-old revealed.
“I feel we have been a little bit negative in our set-up, and if we can get after teams a little bit better then that would help.
“You look at Ipswich at home, there’s no excuse...
“We know it’ll be a hard game, it always is against them.
“We’ll respect them but there’ll certainly be no fear going in.
“Saturday can’t come soon enough, because there will be a better mood when we do get back to winning ways.”
It was a familiar tale of woe in midweek against Newcastle on Wednesday night, who picked up a comfortable win in front of the Sky cameras with Latics only having the one shot on target.
“I think in the first half we were punished for waiting, and then we did concede the first goal,” Perkins assessed.
“At 1-0 down in the second half, we had to go for it, and I thought at times we got into some good positions.
“But probably that lack of confidence cost us against a quality side in Newcastle.
“The belief is still there in the camp, we’re all working so hard to turn it around.
“It’s just a sucker-punch to concede the first goal again, because Newcastle are a good team who can sit in and hit you on the counter.
“We could do with getting the first goal in a game, which would obviously allow us to grow in belief and confidence.
“We know Newcastle are a top side, but so are Aston Villa, Derby, Huddersfield and Reading who we’ve played lately.
“We can’t keep saying ‘oh we’re playing against top sides’ and feeling sorry for ourselves.
“We need to start picking up points.”