Despite admitting he hasn’t paid close attention to Blackburn this season, Paul Cook knows enough about them to expect a feisty encounter this afternoon.
Latics renew their acquaintances with their North West rivals at the DW Stadium, looking to knock Shrewsbury off the top of the table while Blackburn chase their own promotion ambitions.
And Wigan boss Cook says looking at Tony Mowbray’s squad is enough to convince him preserving his proud home record won’t be easy.
“I haven’t seen a lot of Blackburn if the truth be known,” he admitted.
“I’ve seen them against Burnley in the Carabao Cup, obviously with the fixture clashing, it’s more through watching them on tapes and DVDS.
“We only have to look at the calibre of player within the Blackburn team to know what you’re getting. If Blackburn click and start playing with a collective team performance then they are going to beat the majority of teams in this league by the calibre of players they have. I haven’t seen Blackburn, I’m not saying they haven’t, we’re very much respectful of what they’ve got and the players they’ve got, but we’ll be concentrating on ourselves and hopefully trying to cause them problems on the day.”
Blackburn arrive at the DW on the back of a 3-0 win over Cook’s former club Portsmouth, and Mowbray has already hinted he will tweak his line-up in search of an important win.
But Cook isn’t planning on doing anything differently, although he admits his winning run can’t last forever.
“People who watch us know we play quite a similar style – home and away,” said Cook.
“I think our away fans have enjoyed us on the road which is important, all being we haven’t won every game, losing is part and parcel of football.
“Certainly at home, it’s getting highlighted that we are unbeaten, but that’ll change. We’ll lose a game of football, as that’s what football’s about.
“The bigger picture is what concerns me and what we’ll keep looking towards.”
Blackburn, like Wigan, are used to plying their trade above League One, and Cook agrees they carry a ‘big club’ tag around their neck.
But despite expecting a big away following and a high-tempo derby, the manager maintained his usual stance that his only focus is on how he prepares his own team.
“Blackburn are a big club, they’ve got great support home and away and they come with the pedigree of a big club and a good club,” he said.
“But all we can concentrate on is ourselves. We can’t influence what Tony’s staff and players do on the day. But we can very much influence what we do and how we prepare for the game.
“We’re looking to hopefully give a very strong home performance.”
Cook also revealed striker Will Grigg is a couple of weeks away from returning to action after picking up a hamstring injury. He also offered a word of support to Jordan Flores, on loan at Chesterfield, who was involved in a car accident earlier this week.
He said: “The most important thing is the health of the people involved. We’ll certainly be monitoring Jordan, and wish him well. Hopefully he has a speedy recovery.”