Christian Walton is confident Brentford can be added to the list of top teams to receive a bloody nose from Wigan Athletic when the Championship returns from its international break this weekend.
Latics travel south to face a Bees side rated among the best in the second tier, and one of the favourites to win promotion to the Premier League at the end of the season.
But Walton says the clash will hold no fears for a side who have already proved they belong in such esteemed company with their form so far.
“I never had any doubts we wouldn’t do well at this level,” Walton told the Wigan Post.
“We’ve managed to keep the momentum from last season, and the recruitment the manager’s done has helped us to another level.
“We’ve added gifted players to an already strong squad, and that’s a positive formula.
“Brentford are getting labelled as one of the best teams in the division and it’s going to be a tough game, on a tight pitch.
“We’ll have respect for them, as we would any team we play at this level.
“But at the same time we’ll be getting in amongst them and trying to attack them at every opportunity.
“The manager doesn’t want us sitting off any team, because that gives them time and space to hurt you.
“We’ve needed fantastic fitness levels to be able to play that way, but it’s working so far and we’re getting amongst teams.
“I think a few teams have been shocked by the way we’ve taken the game to them, but it suits the way we are as a squad.”
Latics managed to pick up an impressive 10 points from their opening six matches before the international break.
And Walton says that’s left him in two minds as to whether the fortnight off was a good thing or not.
“The break never comes at a perfect time, especially after we’d made such a good start in the league,” he recognised.
“Maybe if we hadn’t started so well we’d have welcomed it a little bit more, and the chance to get some things sorted.
“We’d managed to get so much momentum going, and we’ll be doing everything we can to try and pick up where we left off.”
Walton will be looking for his third clean sheet in four matches, with the backline really tightening up after shipping 10 goals in the opening four fixtures in all competitions.
And the on-loan Brighton man is well aware the opening few games were always going to be a steep learning curve with three new defenders – Cedric Kipre, Reece James and Antonee Robinson – being thrown in at the deep end.
“It was always going to take time to get going this year with the amount of new lads coming in,” added Walton.
“But we’re really happy with the way it’s going, and the understanding we’ve managed to get in the side.
“Cedric in particular has settled in superbly – I thought he was the stand-out man in the last game against Rotherham.
“Playing alongside Chey (Dunkley), who’s been at the club for over a season, has helped him on, and it’s all good.
“It’s a great unit we’ve got and it’s something we’re looking to keep improving week by week.”