'˜Sun on our back will benefit us', says Roberts
Gary Roberts insists Wigan Athletic will be rested, recuperated and ready to go when they return from the international break against Bradford this afternoon.
With Latics in FA Cup action before last weekend’s trip to Rochdale was postponed due to international call-ups, it means some of Latics’ big-hitters have been resting up for three weeks.
And Roberts says the down time is exactly what the squad needed ahead of the always-hectic festive season.
“It’s a great chance to recharge the batteries, and assess a few injuries,” Roberts told the Wigan Post.
“It gives those lads an extra week to get back where they want to be, which is important.
“The lads have played a lot of games in a short space of time recently.
“It’s been Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday for a while now, and that’s been a very demanding schedule.
“To be able to have a week off now I feel is an advantage over the teams that haven’t had that luxury.
“Some of the lads have been able to go away and get a bit of sun, which is always nice.
“People might look at the travelling involved, but it’s sun on your back at the end of the day, and it relaxes your body and your mind.
“Training this week since we’ve all been back has great, and hopefully it’ll work out in our favour.”
However, Roberts knows Latics can’t afford to ease back into it against a Bradford side he feels will be thereabouts come the end of the season.
“Bradford have missed out over the last couple of years, when they’ve been on the verge of kicking on and doing something,” he acknowledged.
“It’s going to be a tricky game for us – a bit different to the ones we’ve been playing this year.
“Probably 90 per cent of the teams who’ve come here this season have sat off and tried to hit us on the break.
“Even Blackburn did it the other week, they changed their team from their best performance of the season against Portsmouth, which was a bit surprising.
“The way Bradford play, though, they try to have the most possession, dominate the ball, and I can see them trying to do that here.
“That’s also the way we play, so it should be a good, open game - with plenty of goals in the game.
“But I feel we’ve got enough in the dressing room to beat anyone in this league.”
One man who has benefitted from three weeks ‘off’ is Michael Jacobs, who has been battling a thigh problem since the end of September, but who is now back to full fitness.
“Michael just hasn’t been himself since he’s had the thigh problem,” revealed boss Paul Cook.
“We had tests done, and he was just a little bit away from where he should have been.
“He’s back to full pace now, he’s had a lovely break and Michael will start.”
Cook has reported no fresh injury worries.