EMMERSON Boyce believes the Boxing Day trip to Leeds presents the ideal opportunity for Wigan Athletic to show what they’re made of.
Latics travel to West Yorkshire deep in the relegation mire after Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Rotherham – a result that leaves them six points adrift of safety in the table.
Leeds are seven points above Latics, and Boyce says it is imperative that gap is cut as quickly as possible.
“Leeds will be a hard team to play against, but they find themselves at the bottom as well,” he told the Evening Post.
“We’ve got to make sure we start picking up points against the teams around us in the table.
“We’d like to be looking at the teams who are aiming for the play-offs as rivals.
“But we have to be realistic, and start grinding out results against the teams who are our direct opponents.”
The performance off the bench of striker Oriol Riera was one of the few positives from last weekend, and Boyce admits it’s good to have the Spanish striker back after injury.
“Oriol’s come back well and it just shows the quality we do have in the squad,” he added.
“He’s been waiting for his chance, which he got on Saturday, and he took it.
“That should send a message to the other players who are trying to force their way into the starting XI.”
Fellow striker Andy Delort continued to do just that yesterday, finding the net again in the Development Squad’s routine win over Tranmere.
Delort made the first goal and scored the second himself in the 4-0 win, which also featured run-outs for William Kvist and Thomas Rogne.
Latics are now up to second spot in Northern Group D with a game in hand over Fleetwood, after extending their unbeaten sequence over 90 minutes to six matches.
Meanwhile, Maynor Figueroa has been recalled from his loan spell by Hull.
The Honduran was due to return to Humberside next week anyway, but the Tigers have exercised their right following recent injuries.