GARY Caldwell insists Wigan Athletic will launch their end-of-season gallop with the blinkers well and firmly on.
While the horse racing world focuses on Cheltenham this week, Latics have set their sights on an altogether different finishing line – top-flight survival come May.
Caldwell has studied all the Premier League form with only 10 fences to negotiate.
And the Scottish thoroughbred insists the best way of ensuring they don’t come a cropper in the final straight will be to avoid all unnecessary distractions – like regular perusing of the league table.
“I don’t even know what the league table looks like at the moment – you try and take yourself away from that at this stage of the season,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.
“It’s not always useful to be constantly looking at the ladder, and analysing whether you’re moving up or down. All that matters is performances and results – and I think it was a good performance and an okay result at Norwich.
“The challenge now is to build on that – and we’ll be aiming to do so against West Brom on Saturday.”
Caldwell was one of several Latics players who won’t want to see Norwich’s opening goal at the weekend again, but he was a rock for the remainder alongside Antolin Alcaraz and Maynor Figueroa as the Canaries were largely kept at arm’s length.
It was the perfect way for Latics to bounce back from the dismal home defeat to Swansea the previous week.
And Caldwell says they have set the standard now for the rest of the season.
“The Swansea game was a blip for us – but there were reasons for that,” he revealed.
“We stuck together, we came up with a good week of training and we showed we’re still in there fighting.
“It was a sloppy start to the game, and we have to look at ourselves for that.
“We let Norwich in and gave them a goal start. But we came out for the second half and had a right go at them.
“We know on our day, when we play well and work together as a team, we’re not bad - and we showed that.
“We’ve still got great belief, we showed that as well. We’re together as a unit, and that can only be a good thing.”
Despite the encouraging performance, Latics remain rooted to the foot of the table with games running out.However, the small margins at the bottom are illustrated by the fact victory against West Brom would see Latics jump out of the bottom three.
“It’s frustrating, it’s disappointing, because we all feel we should be further up the table,” the Scotland centre-back added.
“But we are where we are, we have to accept it and it’s up to us to do something about it. It was a shame we couldn’t nick it on Sunday, because it would have been a huge win for us.
“But it’s another good performance and another decent point for us to build on and take into next week and try to get that elusive three points.”