Latics guest column - Stephen Warnock

Stephen Warnock
Stephen Warnock

Obviously it’s been an eventful week, and there’s been a few changes elsewhere in the Championship recently.

We came in on Monday morning to find out that Warren had left the club, and it’s something that happens in football.

We’ve already had it once before this season of course, and we just have to regroup and go again for the weekend.

I don’t think anything is a shock to you any more in football.

I think if you look at how many have left their posts this season shows you that.

Obviously our position in the league isn’t great, and there’s always the possibility that can happen.

We know the fans were disappointed with the way things went on Saturday, they vented their anger at the end, and it’s one of those things in football.

As players we have to take our portion of the blame, and it is disappointing to be part of something where somebody loses their job.

Obviously things move on, and Graham’s in charge for the rest of the season.

His commitment to the club is unquestionable, I respect him a lot as a guy.

His knowledge of football is second to none, he has maximum respect from everyone in the building - the staff, the players, everyone connected to the club - and he’s the right man to step into the position and hopefully guide us to safety.

He’s someone who knows the club inside out, who knows what it will take to get us out of the position we’re in.

He’s been there before with Roberto Martinez a few years ago, when the situation of staying in the Premier League looked completely gone, but they miraculously managed to keep the side up, beating some top teams along the way.

I’m sure he’ll be looking back at that for inspiration, and hopefully he can do the same for us, and inspire the lads to create something special here.

There’s always been a belief in the dressing room that we can get out of it.

It’s just that there’s possibly that fear factor, that when you do lose, and teams around you inevitably pick up points.

As Graham’s said before, you’ve got to take the shackles off, go for it, and play with no fear as much as you can.

That’s what we’re going to do.

There’s going to be people in the dressing room who are disappointed at the outcome with the previous manager.

There’s also going to be players thinking there’s maybe a chance now for them to play some football.

That’s naturally the case within any dressing room when any manager leaves a club.

Now it’s up to players to either force their way into the team and try to create something for themselves, or stay in there and help create something special.

It’s about getting that togetherness, and coming together as a team, and getting out of this mess.

The good thing for Graham is he has a staff around him that he already knows.

There’s a few who were here under Gary and even Uwe, so he’ll have a lot of trust in that staff to get over the messages that he wants.

It’s also up to the senior players to try and nudge it in the right direction, and lend a hand where we can.

The fans have got a massive role to play in the run-in.

They’ve vented their anger in the last few games, and rightly so.

The results, apart from Birmingham, simply haven’t been good enough.

The Blackburn and Bristol City games in particular were very disappointing in terms of the way we played, and the way we set up.

Those results were hard to take, but hopefully the fans will be right behind us for the last nine games.

We need them now more than ever – the less negativity around the place from everyone the better.

It really does relay its way down to the pitch.,

As much as fans don’t think that’s the case, it does, and we need them behind us.

We’ve been in a position several times already this season where we’ve said we need a big performance, and a special atmosphere.

The only people that can create that atmosphere is us, the players, and get people off the edge of their seats in excitement, wanting to cheer the lads on.

Aston Villa will bring a lot of fans up, we expect that, they’re a very big team with a lot of top players.

But they have shown this year they are beatable.

We have them a tough game at their place without really going after them.

We’ve just got to be positive from the off, and see where that takes us.