Beware the wounded animal, warns Wigan Athletic chief

Paul Cook fears Wigan Athletic will face a backlash from a Leeds United still wounded from last season's remarkable clash at Elland Road when they face off again this weekend.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 12:33 pm
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 12:35 pm
Gavin Massey celebrates scoring against Leeds

Latics pulled off a famous victory last Good Friday when, having fallen behind early on and had Cedric Kipre sent off, a brilliant brace from Gavin Massey silenced the home crowd.

As well as giving Latics a real shot in the arm in their fight against relegation, the result was seen as possibly the one which most dented Leeds' hopes of winning automatic promotion back to the Premier League.

And the Latics boss has warned his side to beware of a Leeds side fuelled by thoughts of revenge.

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"That was probably the day when we genuinely believed we could stay up, from that point," he said.

"When you look back, everything in that game went our way.

"Leeds dominated all of the stats - possession, shots, attempts on goal, penalty box entries - we had no right to win the game.

"And it must go down as one of our best days since I've been here.

"The disappointing thing for us, if truth be told, is last year could well count against us this time.

"Leeds might look at us as the team that stopped them going up last year, and they might inspire them to come together to get one back over Wigan.

"The reality is we're in two totally different fights.

"I just hope they don't take any of their frustrations from last year out on our team, because we were really desperate for the points as well."

Latics are buoyed by the midweek win over Sheffield Wednesday that saw them cut the gap to safety to only four points, with 17 games still remaining.

Cook, though, acknowledges they'll face the ultimate test against a side he rates as certs to finish the campaign top of the Championship.

"I know the Leeds fans might not think it, but they're going up as champions, they're the best team in the division," he added.

"I hope they go up, I want them to go up, Leeds fans are probably up there with the best.

"They're such a strong team, the mindset of the management and the players is great, and the supporters really deserve it."