EMMERSON Boyce has called on Wigan Athletic to show the ‘Spirit of 07’ to pull off their second Great Escape in the space of four years.
Boyce is one of three survivors in the current squad – Chris Kirkland and Mike Pollitt being the others – from that famous day at Bramall Lane, when Latics won 2-1 at Sheffield United on the final day of the campaign to retain their Premier League status.
Last weekend’s dramatic 3-2 victory over West Ham ensured Latics live to fight another day, and Boyce admits a repeat of four years ago would do nicely when Latics face another do-or-die showdown at Stoke on Survival Sunday.
“There are definite shades of Sheffield United from 2007, and we’ll need that same spirit we showed that day to get through,” Boyce told the Evening Post.
“At the end of the day, at this stage of the season, you want things to be in their own hands - and if we win I think we’ll stay up. Simple.
“The lads who have been there before - me, Kirky, Polly - we can try and give advice, which we will do.
“I’ll try my best to help if that would help anyone. But sometimes the less focus you put on something, the more you can relax and the better you play.”
Boyce has experienced both sides of last-day drama, his relief at helping Latics stay up in 2007 coming just two years after his Crystal Palace side were relegated at Charlton in similar circumstances.
“It is tough when everything is on the line on one 90-minute game,” Boyce recognised.
“The consequences of going down are massive. We all know that.
“It’s not just going to affect the players - it affects the people who work behind the scenes, the fans, everyone.
“We have got a lot of people depending on us, and we all want Wigan Athletic to remain a Premier League club.
“Self-pride comes before everything, though, and I’ve been relegated before. It’s not a nice feeling, and certainly not something you want on your CV.
“As far as the club are concerned, it’s vital we stay in the Premier League.
“We’re a growing club going in the right direction, with a fantastic young manager, and we play football in the right way.
“We celebrated on Sunday night, let’s just say that, but we know the job is only half done and we’re all fully focused on Stoke.
“It would be the perfect time to come up with back-to-back wins for the first time.”
The right-back also acknowledged the fight Wigan showed in coming back from the dead to put West Ham away will stand them in good stead at the Britannia.
“At half-time, 2-0 down, we’re relegated,” he added.
“I think the boys looked at themselves at half-time, and knew how important the next 45 minutes were to the club and to themselves.
“We proved our hearts are in this - for the people who say we don’t always show pride in the shirt, we answered them in that second half.
“We live to fight another day - bring on Stoke.”