Dream finish in sight - Don
Donervon Daniels admits Wigan Athletic's players and supporters will be allowed to dream of promotion 'a little bit more' if they see off Southend this afternoon.
But the big defender insists nobody at the DW will be taking their foot off the gas until a top-two berth – and then top spot – is assured.
Latics hold a three-point lead over second-placed Burton, and a six-point advantage over third-placed Walsall, who have a game in hand.
It means Latics – whose goal difference is double that of their two rivals – can all-but secure automatic promotion today if results go their way.
And the dream that began last summer is now within touching distance.
“We’ve all been dreaming about promotion since last summer – before a ball was even kicked this season,” Daniels told the Evening Post.
“We just have to keep our feet firmly on the ground and our heads out of the clouds, and stay focused on the three matches ahead.
“I know everybody is going to be happy and joyous this weekend because we’re still top of the table, and it’s okay to dream. But the players have to take one game at a time – until you see that ‘P’ next to our name in the table.
“All we can do now is focus on Southend, and come up with another solid performance. We know Southend will be tough opponents, and no-one here will be taking the game for granted.
“But if we can get another three points, we can dare to dream a little bit more, and celebrate a little bit more.”
Latics took another huge step towards an immediate return to the Championship with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Burton in midweek – a solid response to the below-par showing in defeat at Doncaster last weekend.
“I thought all the boys who went out on the pitch at Burton gave a good account of themselves,” Daniels acknowledged.
“It was the perfect way to bounce back from last Saturday’s defeat at Doncaster, and we put our stamp down – I was proud to be a part of that team.
“It was a tough game. Anyone who went to Burton will have seen it was a tough game.
“Burton are a solid team, who work from a solid base, and we always knew they’d get behind the ball and make it difficult for us.
“It was a point gained – especially seeing Walsall also drew – and it keeps us three clear with three to play.
“It’s still in our hands - and those are the words the gaffer is constantly reiterating in the dressing room.
“Every game now is a cup final, and we have to make them all count.”