Embrace this, don’t fear it! - Cook

Nick Powell
Nick Powell
Share this article

Paul Cook is fully expecting Doncaster Rovers to go for the jugular tonight against his wounded Wigan Athletic side.

But he called on his players to meet the challenge of suffering their first home league defeat in eight months at the weekend against Bradford head on – and ‘embrace it, rather than fear it’.

When asked whether Rovers boss Darren Ferguson would fancy their chances of an upset, Cook replied: “Why wouldn’t he?

“I’ve listened now for two or three months hearing from opposition managers that Wigan are the best team in the league, they’re going to win the league, they already have won the league.

“We haven’t! And we’re not stupid.

“There’s a long way to go and a lot of tough games to come.

“Tuesday could be a tough game for us, so let’s get ready for that.

“Let’s embrace it, rather than fear it.

“That’s always been my attitude, and I want it to be my players’ attitude.”

Rovers – despite languishing in 17th position in League One, two points above the drop zone – will arrive at the DW with confidence, having become the first side to prevent Fleetwood from scoring at home in Saturday’s 0-0 draw.

“All records are there to be broken,” Cook recognised.

“I went over to see Doncaster the other week against Rotherham, and Darren’s teams always play with a certain style.

“They pass the ball, they’re full of good footballers and they’re a very positive team with a positive manager.

“For me, it can only be a good game of football.

“Every team in this league is tough – that’s the reality of it.

“If you look at the bottom of the league, it’s probably as exciting as the top end.

“I’ve said for a while that one or two teams who don’t think they’ll be in the relegation fight will get dragged into it.

“The league is that evenly balanced.

“For us at the top end, we’re just trying to remain as positive as we can be, picking up points to get is where we want to be.

“Every game carries its own importance in terms of points, and we’ll see where it takes us.”

Cook confirmed Nick Powell had reported unwell before Saturday’s clash with Bradford, before being forced off less than half-an-hour in with a hamstring strain.

The ex-Manchester United is unlikely to feature, but there could be starts for Gary Roberts, Ryan Colclough and Will Grigg in a reshuffled side.