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Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook tight-lipped on who will make debuts

Paul Cook
Paul Cook

Paul Cook is preparing his Wigan Athletic side to face what he thinks is the biggest club in the Championship on Saturday.

Latics travel to Villa Park to face old manager Steve Bruce’s side in a clash which many see as one of the main rewards for their promotion form League One last term.

But Cook has promised his players won’t be there to make up the numbers, and insists they will travel to compete.

“We want to go and apply ourselves properly,” said the manager.

“We don't want to sit back and say what a lovely stadium Villa Park is. As delighted as we are to be there, we want people to leave the stadium and say ‘that was a good match.’”

Cook oversaw more transfer activity this week, with three players in Josh Windass, Joe Garner and Callum Connolly joining on Thursday before the capture of Lee Evans was announced yesterday.

But he remained tight-lipped on who may make a debut this afternoon.

“We’ll wait and see, last week we had the chaos of signings and this week we’ve got more chaos,” he said.

“In terms of it being a chaotic club we’re doing great the minute! But the dust will settle on all of that.”

Cook revealed there will be changes to the line-up which beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 in their opening Championship encounter last weekend though.

“The disappointing thing is certainly players who played last week won’t make the squad due to injury, and there’s nothing we can do about that,” he explained.

“There will be changes, but will those chases come from within or new signings, we’ll wait and see.”

Cook is pleased with the club’s activity in the transfer window though, and hopes the additions made over summer will enhance competition for places.

“The boy’s we’ve brought in, certainly in my opinion bring the underbelly if the squad very much stronger,” he said.

“For too long we’ve possibly had the same team picking itself more often than not with players pushing for first team starts maybe not as aggressively as they should.

“That’s not the case now at Wigan Athletic with the boys we’ve brought in.”

Cook has also been busy doing his homework on Bruce’s side, and despite the family connection with Steve’s son Alex being at Wigan, hopes no information will have found its way to the opposition manager over the dinner table.

When asked if he was worried about Alex sharing trade secrets, the boss laughed:“I’ll kill him if he has!

“Steve was at our game last weekend and he will know we did well on the day but we’re well aware of what Aston Villa carry.

“For me you don’t get a better fixture than Aston Villa away – that’s my personal opinion.

“For me they are possibly the biggest club in the division.

“For me they are the benchmark of what a Premier League club should be.

“They’re a fantastic club and we’re in for a very difficult afternoon.

“But it’s weirdly one we’re very much looking forward to.”