‘We won’t take a back step’, insists Cook

Paul Cook
Paul Cook
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Paul Cook has called on Wigan Athletic’s fanbase to raise the roof at the DW for today’s visit of well-supported Bradford City.

The Bantams will bring their customary bumper away following over the Pennines for the game of the day in League One.

And Cook wants the home fans in the stands to do their bit to get the best out of the 11 players on the pitch.

“The stadium can be a little bit lost now and again, with the supporters inside,” Cook told the Wigan Post.

“Away from home - at places like Peterborough, Blackpool, MK Dons - you can hear the noise.

“If we could just turn that up a little bit at home that would be great.

“And I’m not blaming anyone in any way, shape or form.

“Bradford are a great club and we know they’ll travel in numbers.

“They play good football, really attractive stuff, easy on the eye.

“But they’ll also know that they’re going to be in for a very good game from us.

“Hopefully the real Wigan Athletic will turn up, and we won’t take a back step.”

Unlike most side this season, who’ve arrived at the DW happy to take a point, Cook believes Stuart McCall’s men will not be so negative.

“It should be two teams intent on having a good game,” the Latics boss acknowledged.

“I’m sure Stuart and his side will be looking forward to coming to the DW Stadium, a great stadium and a great pitch.

“You can never second-guess what might happen, but you would suspect they’ll come here and have a go.

“It’s not my concern how Stuart will set up his side, but I’m sure they will come here to win the game.”

Latics go into the game a point adrift of leaders Shrewsbury, with a far superior goal difference, meaning they can go top with a win - or even a draw, if their rivals lose.

Cook, though, that will not be in their thinking at all.

“It’s not in our minds to tell you the truth,” he revealed.

“It’s concentrating on our own game, what we can do.

“We could win the game and stay second, or we could go top after conceding a late equaliser.

“There’s all types of scenarios, and all we can focus on is the game in front of us.”

Both Latics and the Shrews had a free Saturday last weekend because of the international break.

Latics were hoping to go ahead with their fixture at Rochdale, despite having Sam Morsy (Egypt), Owen Evans (Wales U-21s) and Matija Sarkic (Montenegro U-21s) away.

But a late call-up for Lee Evans to the Wales squad saw Latics err on the side of caution - which Cook admits wasn’t an easy decision.

“We’ve never been happy with the international break, as you know,” he recognised.

“From the first one when we came back from it and lost at Shrewsbury, to the second one when we decided to play at Scunthorpe.

“This one, there was so much debate, and right up to the end we were going to play at Rochdale until Lee Evans was called up.

“There’s all types of different scenarios, but we’re glad it’s behind us now - we’re glad that’s gone.

“We’ve trained well this week and we can’t wait to get going again.

“I’m delighted for Lee, on a personal level. He went away with Wales on a high, after that great goal against Crawley, and he’s kept that going.

“He’s come back with an international cap to his name, and that will give him a spring in his step as he rejoins the group.”