Jacobs bullish about Wigan Athletic future
It's only just over a month since Michael Jacobs and Wigan Athletic celebrated winning back their place in the Championship at the first attempt amid joyous scenes at Doncaster and then, the following day, in the sunshine at Mesnes Park.
With the World Cup under way in Russia, the fixtures for the new campaign will be unveiled later this week.
Which is when the euphoria and relief of picking up a second League One title in the space of three seasons will begin to give way to thoughts of next term – and how competitive Latics will be.
Jacobs for one is already predicting it will be far tougher to compete than it was two seasons ago, when Latics finished second bottom of the pile after a car-crash campaign.
And he says a huge improvement across the board will be required for Latics just to be able to compete with the rtest of the sides in what has been described as a ‘Premier League II’.
“You look at the teams in the Championship and it’s going to be a massive challenge for us,” Jacobs acknowledged.
“Most of us have played there before, and the standard is getting miles better with every year.
“The physicality, the fitness levels are getting higher, and we need to be ready for that.
“We’re all going to have to improve 20-25 per cent to even be able to compete next year.
“But we’ll be looking to do that and we’ll see where we end up.”
It will be Jacobs’ fourth crack at the Championship, after single seasons with Derby County (2012-13), Wolves (2014-15) and Latics (2016-17).
Each time he’s ended up back in League One the following campaign but, at the age of 26, he feels better equipped than ever to handle the step up.
And he’s adamant the Latics squad going up under Paul Cook will give a far better account of themselves than Gary Caldwell’s men two years ago.
“Last time in the Championship, I wouldn’t say we let ourselves down, but we did struggle with the way we played at times,” he acknowledged.
“We didn’t pick up the results we needed and we ended up getting relegated.
“But looking at the players we’ve got in the dressing room, I’m sure we’ll be fine.”