Let's not lose proud record - Cook
Paul Cook insists Wigan Athletic will be fighting to preserve their proud 16-game unbeaten home record '“ as well as a place in the next round of the Checkatrade Trophy '“ when they entertain Accrington Stanley tonight.
Latics have avoided defeat in all 11 home matches this term, across all four competitions, winning nine of them.
Indeed, having won two and drawn two of their last four home matches last term – and holding Liverpool 0-0 in pre-season – it’s almost eight months since Latics were last beaten at the DW – by Aston Villa on March 18.
And it’s a record Cook is desperate to ensure doesn’t fall by the wayside tonight.
“We’re unbeaten at home for a while, and we certainly don’t want to surrender that record now,” said Cook.
“You’re picking your team with that in mind, thinking: ‘What happens if we get beaten?’ But that’s football.
“I put a lot of importance on our unbeaten home record.
“We made a lot of changes against Blackpool in the Carabao Cup, and to be fair they were better than us on the night.
“This time we’ll be younger again, but it’s great for the Academy.
“We want to see these lads, we want to see them in the team.”
Cook has made no secret of his intention to field a youthful side, in keeping with the previous two group games in the competition.
“I enjoy the youngsters coming in and showing what they can do,” he recognised.
“We took 700 fans to Blackpool in the first game, and it’s great for the kids to be playing in front of those numbers.
“I’m sure there’ll be more kids in the team for this one, and that’s great for Gregor (Ricoh) and the Academy.
“We’d obviously like the fans to come out and show their support, in what we’re trying to do.
“In football, winning is usually everything. But now and again there’s an opportunity where winning shouldn’t be everything.”
As well as resting a number of first-team players tonight, Cook admits he has also dropped the intensity in training of late.
“We felt this week, with all the games we’ve played recently, it was a bit of a ‘lower’ week in terms of giving some lads a break,” Cook added.
“I just feel that with 16 league games, the Checkatrade Trophy, the Carabao Cup, and now the FA Cup, lads are just starting to show the first signs of fatigue.
“As a manager, we’ve had chance to do something about that, and hopefully this week will have done them good.”