Rochdale ’one of toughest teams’ Wigan Athletic have faced

Will Grigg
Will Grigg
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Will Grigg is expecting one of the toughest games of the season tonight as Wigan Athletic look to take another huge step towards the Championship at Rochdale.

Just seven games now remain until the end of the season, with second-placed Latics - two points behind leaders Blackburn, with a game in hand - still in charge of their own destiny.

But to continue their winning run, they’ll have to be on it against a Dale side who pushed them every step of the way at the DW just over a month ago before losing 1-0.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” Grigg told the Wigan Post.

“They’re probably one of the toughest teams we’ve played at the DW Stadium.

“We won’t be going there expecting anything other than another very tough test.

“They came very close at the weekend to beating Portsmouth - who beat us last week - so we know how dangerous they can be.

“We’ll make sure we’re ready for the challenge and hopefully we can come up with another win.”

Manager Paul Cook was also very impressed with Rochdale during their recent appearance at the DW, with Latics just about backing up from the famous FA Cup win over Manchester City five days earlier, thanks to Michael Jacobs’ solitary strike.

“If you look back to that day, it wasn’t so much the performance but the result that was important,” acknowledged Cook.

“We made a number of changes after the Man City game, and we changed system a couple of times.

“Rochdale were a threat that day, they’re in fine form, they beat Shrewsbury the other week...they a very good side.

“You never come away from Rochdale having been in anything other than a tough game.

“Every ball will be contested, there’ll be a ferocious tempo.

“They also play the game the right way, with a smile on their faces, and I enjoy watching Rochdale play.”

Cook also piled the plaudits on opposite number Keith Hill.

“Keith’s one of the outstanding managers in the division - and he has been for a number of years,” the Latics boss added.

“He always gets the best out of his players, and his teams and clubs tend to over-achieve.

“This year, they’ve maybe not done as well as some people would have expected.

“Purely that’s on the strength of what Keith’s done in the past.

“I’m sure Rochdale will get out of trouble, I fully expect them to do that.

“I just hope this game isn’t one that helps them to do it.”