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A good start - but that’s all it is!

Paul Cook
Paul Cook

Paul Cook admits Wigan Athletic have to be on the guard against complacency after starting the season in record-breaking style.

The 28 points Latics have collected so far is their highest tally after 12 matches since joining the Football League in 1978.

They’re red-hot favourites to pick up a seventh win from their last eight matches this afternoon against Southend.

But Cook has been in the game long enough not to take anything for granted.

“Football has a habit of bringing people down to earth very quickly,” the Latics boss warned.

“It’s only ever been a race of 46 games and, along the way, you might feel good, or thinking you’re doing well.

“But we’re still only 12 games in, and it’s too early to think about anything else.

“There’s such a long way to go, and anyone who takes their eye off that will find themselves in trouble.

“In football, you’re only ever a defeat or two away from an end to a good run.”

That said, he’s more than satisfied with the opening quarter of the campaign.

“At the start of every season, at any club, there’s a rough image of where you want to be,” he assessed.

“Certainly at this club we wanted our focus to be on trying to get promoted.

“There’s three ways you can go up – as champions, as runners-up, or through the play-offs – but there’s still a long way to go.

“The lads have set a benchmark with their level of performance and, although we’ve lost a couple of games, anyone can lose twice.

“We’ve just to keep going, keep playing, the way we want to, because the players are enjoying themselves and long may it continue.”

Most punters will probably have ‘home win’ on the coupon this afternoon, with Southend having endured a difficult start to the season.

But Cook says anyone taking Phil Brown’s men lightly do so at their peril.

“Southend are a very good side with very good players and a very experienced manager,” he warned.

“They’ve been hit hard by injuries already, and any team will be affected when they lose their ‘big’ players.

“The quicker they get those players back, the quicker you’ll see a more consistent Southend side.

“But our problem is always about how we are doing and how we will go about the game.

“You never know whether it’s a good time to play a team or a bad time.

“The front two could be (Nile) Ranger and (Simon) Cox – and they’re capable of hurting most team at most levels.

“If anyone’s thinking we’ll have an easy time because they’ve got a few injuries and suspensions, they’ll be in for a shock.

“There’s still a lot of experience in that side, and we know it’ll be a very tough challenge.

“At the beginning of the season, Southend are certainly a side I would have picked to have been finishing in that top six – without a shadow of a doubt.”