I've been to Hull and back...we can do it - Joyce

Wigan Athletic boss Warren Joyce says his previous experience of a relegation dogfight means he is far from reaching for the panic button ahead of this weekend's trip to Burton.

Saturday, 14th January 2017, 6:30 am
Warren Joyce

Second-bottom Latics head to the East Midlands looking to close the gap on the fourth-bottom Brewers that currently stands at six points.

But Joyce insists the game is no more or less important than any other, despite the ramifications of a win or, more worryingly, a defeat.

“At Hull City when I was manager, we were bottom of the league (in 1998-99), 15 points adrift at Christmas – and we stayed up comfortably,” he acknowledged.

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“If you just approach each game looking to win, there’s still a lot of points to play for this season.

“You can’t ever look like it’s unmanageable, or ever give up – everything can be done.

“It sounded an impossible task (at Hull). But if you believe in what you’re doing, and you’re seeing things in training, anything is possible in football.”

That said, there will be fewer bigger games up and down the country than at the Pireli Stadium, when last season’s first and second in League One do battle – desperate to avoid returning to the third tier.

“It is obviously a chance for us to make up some points on another side,” Joyce recognised.

“But at the end of the day, it’s still only three points, and a win doesn’t automatically mean we’ll survive and be comfortable.

“There’s still a long way to go in the season, either way.

“Obviously we want to win, but we want to win every game we play.

“It is an important game, but every single game is important at this stage.

“I don’t think we will approach it any different to any other game we would play.

“There’s still 50/60 points to play for after the game, and you have to look at it like that.

“There’s going to be many highs and lows between now and the end of the season, and you can’t get too high for the highs or too low for the lows.

“All you can do is keeping working away and keep believing what you’re doing on the training field.”

If they are to stay up, Latics will have to improve on their meagre tally of only 20 goals scored from their 25 matches played – the worst record in the Championship.

Joyce insists it’s a burden the side have to share as a collective, rather than solely rely on the likes of attackers Will Grigg and Yanic Wildschut.

“You’ve got to try and find a solution on the training ground first and foremost,” he added.

“We’ve looked at a few things this week...we’re not getting enough players busting a gut to get into the box.

“We still want to play when we’re in and around their box.

“Sometimes we’re running out of the box when we should be running in and gambling a little bit more. We’ve got to be better at that, getting more players contributing, looking to score goals – not just relying on Will and Yanic.

“We have to work harder and try and maximise the chances we get and spread out the goals between the team.”