Latics v Rochdale preview: Every game left ‘a Cup Final’

Sam Morsy
Sam Morsy
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Sam Morsy is under no illusions as to the size of the task facing Wigan Athletic this afternoon against north-west neighbours Rochdale.

The tough-tackling midfielder has labelled the Lancashire hotpot ‘the biggest game of the season’, as Latics aim to complete three wins on the spin for the first time this term.

“It’s a huge game for us,” Morsy told Wigan Today.

“We’ve only got eight games left now, and they’ll all be cup finals – it’s as simple as that.

“There’ll be a big crowd at the DW, and we’ll have to give it our all.

“Rochdale will arrive with all guns blazing. They’re in a terrific run of form, and it’ll be a tough game.

“We’ll prepare as if it’s the biggest game of the season - which it is.

“They’ve got lots of good players, but we’ve done our homework on them.

“We know that if we’re at our best, it’ll take care of itself.” Latics are aiming to extend their unbeaten run to an impressive 18 matches, knowing a win would lift them to within one point of the League One summit with leaders Burton not in action until tonight.

However, Morsy is not under-estimating the threat posed by a Dale side whose recent form has seen them eyeing up a play-off finish.

“Rochdale are still looking at the play-offs, and they’ve got enough ability in the squad to do that,” Morsy acknowledged.

“We’re obviously going for automatic promotion, so there’s a lot at stake for both sides.

“Every opponent is dangerous at this stage of the season.

“If they’re bottom of the league, they’re fighting for their lives.

“If they’re top of the league, they’re fighting to get promoted.

“Even the teams in mid-table, they’ve got the freedom to express themselves - and they’re also playing for new contracts.

“That means every single game is huge. There’s no easy games or any easy opponents.”

Morsy is hoping to be Wigan’s good-luck charm for the game, having enjoyed an Indian sign over Dale in recent seasons.

“I’ve played against Rochdale a number of times in recent years with Chesterfield,” the January arrival revealed.

“In our League Two promotion campaign, they were our main rivals.

“We beat them to get to the final of the JPT, and we managed to beat them to clinch the title.

“Last season we also pipped them to the League One play-offs, so I’ve had a good history against them!

“All that’s out of the window, though.

“It’s all about 11 against 11...the biggest game of the season.”

Morsy scored his first goal for Latics in the 4-1 thrashing of Swindon on Good Friday.

After Will Grigg (2) and Max Power had put 
Latics in charge, Morsy notched number four with a superb finish after being spotted in space by Yanic Wildschut.

“It was a great ball in to me,” the 24-year-old recognised.

“I’d had a similar chance earlier, and played it in to Will.

“This time all I had to do was touch it out of my feet, pick my corner and hit it.

“If I can chip in with a few more between now and the end of the season, I’ll be delighted.”

The televised win would have sent out a real statement to the rest of League One ahead of the run-in.

But Morsy says no-one at the DW is getting carried away just yet.

“It was a great win - we created chances, we were aggressive, and we wanted to put on a show for the supporters,” he added.

“They came in their numbers and were unbelievable again for us.

“But this one won’t mean anything unless we can back it up on Monday and beyond.

“The gaffer’s emphasised that it’s only three points, and we have to think like that.

“There’s a great confidence in the camp, and back-to-back wins will do that.

“But the focus has to always be on the next game, and we’ll make sure it is.”