Max Power admits Wigan Athletic have achieved the first of their two aims this season – but the real challenge starts now!
Latics return to league action this weekend with the visit of Fleetwood, having climbed to the top of the table before the ‘break’ for FA Cup combat last weekend.
And having grafted so much to battle their way to the summit...Power says the hard work has only just started.
“We’ve worked really hard to get top of the league, and it’ll be even harder to try and stay there,” Power told the Wigan Post.
“Everyone wants to beat Wigan this league, and that’s even more so now we’re top of the table.
“It’s down to us to deal with that pressure, and hopefully we’ll be able to do that.
“I’ve said it before, but everyone raises their game when they play against Wigan. We have to deal with that, we have to expect that, and we have to be ready for that.”
The Cod Army will arrive at the DW Stadium with plenty of motivation themselves.
Not only would three points be handy to boost their play-off aspirations, there’s also the small matter of Uwe Rosler making his first return to Wigan since being sacked as Latics boss in November 2014.
“Fleetwood are a good side who are always set up very well under Uwe Rosler,” acknowledged Power.
“But we’ve scored six goals in our last two league games, confidence is really high, and it won’t have taken a knock with the FA Cup draw at Fylde. It’s nice to get back to the league, we’ve just got ourselves to the top and we’re determined to say there.”
This weekend’s game is the first of two home games in the space of three days, with an FA Cup second-round replay against Fylde to follow next Tuesday.
Power admits it would have been preferable to have disposed of the non-league outfit at the first time of asking, but accepts these things can happen in the famous competition.
“There was a bit of disappointment in the dressing room after the game, that we’d failed to get the job done,” he revealed.
“But we’re still in the hat, and that’s the main thing.
“Without playing really well, I don’t think we did an awful lot wrong.
“On another night, we put a couple more chances away and we win the game.
“The longer the game went on, the more the crowd got involved.
“They get the penalty, and we couldn’t break them down again at the end.
“We knew we were expected us to win, and to not win the game is not good enough.
“But it’s the FA Cup, and these sort of ties, these sort of results, can happen.
“Recovery nowadays is so important, and we’ll make sure we do everything right in that respect.
“We’ve got a good squad of players who can come in and out of the team and do a job.
“Is a replay ideal? Probably not. But that’s football, and we’ll look forward to the replay – after another big test for us against Fleetwood.”