`

‘The rules have been written down – but you can always break the rules’ - Wigan Athletic boss

Paul Cook
Paul Cook

Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook admits there are positives and negatives involved in fielding a virtual new-look defensive line-up this afternoon against Sheffield Wednesday.

With Nathan Byrne (groin) and Dan Burn (foot) out injured, new-boys Antonee Robinson and Cedric Kipre – who only joined the club yesterday – will be thrown straight in alongside Reece James, who arrived earlier this summer on loan from Chelsea.

“We’ll probably have three new lads making their debut in the back four – which is both good and bad,” acknowledged the Latics boss.

“I think our supporters will be quite appreciative of what’s going on at the club at the moment, and how difficult it’s been for everyone involved.

“There’s no blame attached to anyone for that, in my opinion – it’s just a set of circumstances we’ve been dealt.

“Last season’s success was built on the solidity and continuity of back unit, and we won’t have that this weekend.

“What we will have is the energy and the aggression of new players and what they bring.

“The rules have been written down – but you can always break the rules.

“It’ll be such a challenge for the lads at the back, because they haven’t really trained together yet.

“That’s been sort of dropped on them, but I can’t be over-complicating things.”

After being the biggest fish in the League One pond last term, Latics will revert to being the among the smallest fishes in the Championship ocean.

Not that Cook sees that as necessarily a disadvantage.

“In the end, people can try and – through the press – say what they want and try and manipulate the situation as they see fit,” he reasoned.

“But our supporters will know exactly where we’re at, as a team and a club, and what we’re trying to do.

“What was the objective last year has completely changed this year...but the end game is still the same.

“We know we’re going to have difficult days as the season goes on, and we’ve got a very challenging start.

“You can write down all the problems you’re facing, but you can also look at the positives coming your way.

“You look at what a win this weekend would do for everyone...and that’s what we’re going to going all out in search of, to lay the platform.

“One of the best things for me as a manager is sending my team out there and enjoying watching them play.

“When you’re enjoying watching your team, it usually means they’d doing okay.

“Last year was enjoyable – even when we weren’t winning, when we were being held at home by teams who’d come for a point.

“What I can promise our fans is they’re in for an exciting season.

“A lot of managers think the way to win a game is to defend well and wait for a set-piece. I’ve never been like that...”