Reece James feels this afternoon’s clash at Rotherham is one of of the ‘biggest games of the season’ for Wigan Athletic.
And the on-loan Chelsea defender is confident Latics can use it to move towards Championship safety.
“This is probably one of the biggest games of the season so far for us, because if we get three points at Rotherham then we’re looking up the table,” said 19-year-old James.
“They made it very tough for us in the game at home.
“They’re a very strong, physical side and they know what their jobs are and how to do them.
“But we’re looking to stick together and get three big points.”
James will be a Latics player for the rest of the season, after Paul Cook revealed the young England star turned down the chance to explore other options during the January window.
“I didn’t see the benefit in moving when I’m playing week in, week out and enjoying it here,” he admitted.
“They’re all good lads and we’re in a decent position in the table, and hopefully we can push up a bit higher.
“The Wigan fans are very good at telling me when I’m doing well.
“They vote for me for man of the match and player of the month and I’m thankful for their support.
“Everyone made me feel welcome as soon as I got here and I got to know people pretty quickly.
“Everyone I speak to at Chelsea urges me to keep doing what I’m doing, stay fit and injury free and just keep pushing and moving forwards.”
James switched from right-back to midfield for last week’s victory over QPR, and he is happy to play wherever to continue his education.
“It’s a lot different to playing right-back, but I played there when I was younger,” he added.
“So I do understand the role, but I don’t mind it and I’ll do a job there.
“Positions change, but football has the same principles, being good on the ball, working hard and winning.
“It’s a little bit tougher playing in the Championship than in youth team or under-23 football in terms of physicality.
“But I wouldn’t say it’s anything I can’t deal with.”