Luke Garbutt is adamant Wigan Athletic need only a couple of wins to kickstart their campaign – and generate some much-needed confidence to take into 2017.
Latics will end 2016 in the Championship relegation zone regardless of their result at high-flying Derby on New Year’s Eve.
At this moment of the season, it’s not really about the performanceLuke Garbutt
The Boxing Day trip to Rotherham marked the official halfway point in the campaign, with Latics having picked up only 18 points – including just four wins – from their 23 fixtures played.
But with Monday’s visit of Huddersfield coming hot on the heels of tomorrow’s trip to Derby, Garbutt is hoping Latics can close the gap on fourth-bottom Burton, which currently stands at four points.
“With the fixtures coming thick and fast, we know a couple of wins can get you out of trouble,” he told the Evening Post.
“That’s what we’ll be looking to do, and hopefully that can breed some confidence we can take into the New Year.
“I think we’ve got the quality in the group to do that.
“It’s just having the belief and bravery on the ball - those are the key factors for me.”
Garbutt is hoping to have shaken off a back problem to feature at Derby, as Latics look to avenge a narrow 1-0 home defeat to the Rams on December 3.
The on-loan Everton man admits results are the only things that matter at this time of the year, with clubs jockeying for position on the ladder.
“At this moment of the season, it’s not really about the performance,” he acknowledged.
“The result is all-important at the end of the day.
“That’s the way you’ve got to look at it at this stage.”
Garbutt is looking to make up for lost time under watchful eye of Warren Joyce, having spent much of his early time with Latics from the outside looking in after being snapped up by Gary Caldwell back in August.
“I had a bit of a slow start, not playing too much under the previous manager,” the 23-year-old recognised.
“Now the new manager’s come in, he’s given me the confidence to go out and try to express myself.
“I’ve played a few more games than I had done, and long may that continue.
“Hopefully I can gain more confidence with every appearance and I can show the qualities I have.”
The England Under-21 international has even reinvented himself as an emergency right-back during his short stay at the DW, to help Latics out of an injury hole.
“Obviously I’ve never played that position before in my career,” the left-sided defender added.
“But playing in a variety of positions can help the team, and it also shows I can adapt to different situations.
“For me personally, I’m looking at it as a positive.”