'˜Deal with it!' - Wigan Athletic stars urged

Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook is not expecting a pretty game of football on Tuesday night on a pitch lambasted by Bristol Rovers' own boss Darrell Clarke at the weekend.
Paul CookPaul Cook
Paul Cook

But he has one message to his players as they go in search of three more precious points on their promotion push: Deal with it!

Assuming the game even goes ahead, Cook knows to expect no favours at this time of year, given the recent cold spell.

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However, rather than bemoan the fact his free-flowing side may be hampered in their attempts to express themselves, he chooses a more pragmatic stance.

“I think all pitches are like this at this time of year,” the Latics boss acknowledged.

“Our pitch is also very bobbly, and that’s what football does to you.

“With the winter we’ve had, and with the frost, it’s so difficult for groundsmen up and down the country.

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“It’s part and parcel of the game, and if you’re planning a league programme, you have to factor in things like difficult pitches.

“We know it won’t be a carpet of a pitch to play on – but that’s not Bristol Rovers’ fault, or Darrell Clarke’s fault.

“That’s what football’s all about, and the team we pick will have to be with that in mind.

“To be fair we’ve been down to places like Wimbledon and won.

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“We came a cropper down at Southend, but that was our first away defeat in four months.

“Pitches deteriorate over time, that’s life, and you get on with it.

“Teams have good runs and bad runs, but they’re all part of your season.

“If you can go through a season without a bad run, then you’re some team!”

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Cook takes his squad south despite there being no guarantee the game will even go ahead – but with no frustration at all.

“I do think in this day and age that everybody wants everything to be in their favour,” he admitted.

“All I’m interested on doing is getting on with the job, and whatever the next challenge is in front of us.

“If the game’s off at Bristol because of the pitch, then it’s off – there’s nothing we can do about it.

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“By the end of the season, somehow, we’ll all have played 46 games, and if we can finish with more points than Shrewsbury and Blackburn, we’ll be promoted.”

After back-to-back league defeats against Southend and Blackpool, Latics got back to winning ways at the weekend with a 1-0 win over Rochdale.

On the back of the magnificent FA Cup victory over Manchester City five days earlier, Cook says it was all about the result rather than display.

“The team performance wasn’t great by any stretch of the imagination,” he recognised.

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“We made a decision on Friday that we needed to freshen up the team.

“There were a lot of lads who played who had no relationships, we had a few players playing for the first time.

“The only thing that mattered was getting the win – that was vital.

“We said to the lads before the game that it didn’t matter about how we played, formations, systems...it was all irrelevant.

“We managed to get the win, and the lads must take great credit for that.”