Ryan Colclough admits Wigan Athletic will have to battle ‘a level of expectation’ as well as the rest of League One to achieve their promotion dream.
Latics have adjusted well to life to life back in the third tier, with three wins and a draw from their opening four matches.
Colclough helped Latics finish top of the pile in 2015/16, although their subsequent adventure in the Championship was short-lived.
However, he says the class of 2017/18 are well-equipped to repeat the success of two years ago – and allow them to have another crack at life in the division above.
“We’ve started great, and I don’t think there was ever any doubt about the quality in the camp,” Colclough told the Wigan Post.
“We’ve got a great group of lads, the gaffer and his staff have fitted in so well, and it’s going very well.
“I thought we were unlucky not to keep the winning run going in our last league against Portsmouth before the international break.
“We should still have that 100 per cent start to our name, an unfortunate sending-off probably cost us, but it’s all going to according to plan.
“There’s always a level of expectation wherever you go in football.
“But there’s a great group of lads here that should stand us in good stead.
“There’s nobody getting ahead of themselves, we all work together, play good football on the field, and that should allow us to do well this season.”
With the transfer window now closed, Colclough and co can now get on with the job in hand – without the distraction of any unwelcome transfer talk.
“Now the window’s closed everything is stable, everything is comfortable, and the dressing room’s perfect at the moment,” the 22-year-old insisted.
“To be honest, there’s no doubt in my mind that we will go on to win the league, and get back up to the Championship and give it a good go.
“It’s a great squad in all areas of the pitch.
“We’ve got quality and depth in every single area, so we’re able to cover any injuries and suspensions.
“There’s no weak link in the team or the squad, and that’s a good position to be in.”
On a personal note, Colclough has been a more peripheral character during the opening month than he would have liked to have been, having missed a part of pre-season that saw him chasing his tail.
“The manager speaks to me constantly about what he wants from me,” Colclough revealed.
“I know what I’ve got to do – and being 100 per cent fit is the first part of that.
“When my chance comes along I need to be able to take it with both hands, and the gaffer knows that.
“All I can do in the meantime is keep training hard, doing well in the games I’m selected for, and I’m sure he’ll make the right decision.”
Part of Wigan’s training over the summer took place at a local gym, with the players trying their hands at boxing – which went down well with the troops!
“We all enjoyed getting into the gym and getting the gloves on,” acknowledged Colclough.
“A few of the lads took the boxing a little bit more seriously than others, but it was a great laugh.
“It’s a different kind of fitness – and there’s no doubt boxing is one of the fittest sports out there.
“The stuff we were doing was probably nothing compared to what pros are doing on a daily basis, and it’s safe to say we were all blowing off it pretty quickly.
“It was a good test for us, though, and the more we went there, the fitter we got.
“I think it’s very important to mix things up like that, it keeps everyone on their toes.
“The gaffer’s been great at bringing in stuff like that, we’ve really enjoyed it.”