Latics fans urged to raise the roof

WIGAN Athletic supporters have been encouraged to ‘raise the roof’ during tomorrow’s Premier League blockbuster against Blackburn Rovers.

The Premier League’s bottom two sides go head to head at the DW Stadium in what can already be termed a six-pointer even at this early stage of the campaign.

Defeat for either side is unthinkable, given the worrying gap that’s opening up between them and ‘safety’.

And chief executive Jonathan Jackson has called on every Latics fan to get behind the team as they look for their first victory since the end of August.

“We’ve got home advantage, and it’s so important we make that count and pick up those three points,” Jackson told the Evening Post.

“It’ll be a cup-tie atmosphere, but we’re used to that from last season so it’ll be nothing new.

“The players have plenty of experience of playing in games where everything is on the line, so it’ll stand them in good stead.

“We’re only in November but already we appreciate this is a huge game for both clubs.

“Blackburn are on a similar run to us and are in a similar position in the table, and are just as desperate for the points to kick-start their season.

“Our fans have got a massive role to play, and we’re relying on them to get behind us and hopefully cheer us on to three points.”

Although the stakes couldn’t be higher going into the game, Jackson rejects the notion defeat for either side would mean inevitable relegation in May.

“Whatever the result, win or lose, it won’t decide our season,” he insisted.

“There’s still less than a third of the season gone and there’ll be plenty of time to turn it round.

“Two wins, and we’d be right back in it, and that’s the way we’ve got to look at it.

“We’d much rather be higher up the table but we’re not – and that’s the challenge that faces us.

“There are no easy games in the Premier League these days. We knew that and it’s been borne out by recent weeks.

“The Premier League is the best league in the world and there are 19 other clubs fighting as hard as we are to stay in there.

“Clearly we would have expected to have picked up a few points from the last few games, but you can never tell how things are going to pan out.”

While Blackburn boss Steve Kean continues to feel the pressure, Roberto Martinez has retained the full support of everyone connected with Latics.

And Jackson hopes the stability created by Dave Whelan’s unwavering backing for his boss could prove a big factor in their survival hopes.

“Absolutely, Roberto remains the right man for the job,” Jackson confirmed. “And I can assure you no-one is working harder than Roberto to turn things round.

“We remain confident that things will turn out positive in the end, because we believe in what we’re doing and the bigger picture that we’re working towards.

“Unfortunately, there is no easy answer – other than hard work. But I can assure you that everyone at the club – from the top right through to the bottom – is doing all they can to turn things round.”