'Support your team – that’s all I ask' - Wigan Athletic boss

Paul Cook salutes the Latics fans at Bristol City last month
Paul Cook salutes the Latics fans at Bristol City last month

Paul Cook wants the Wigan Athletic fanbase to be the 12th man in the stands for Saturday’s crunch clash with Reading.

Latics slipped into the bottom three in the Championship after the midweek programme.

But they could climb four places – leapfrogging the Royals in the process – with a win.

Latics have lost their last two fixtures at the DW, with a section of home supporters voicing their displeasure in the 3-0 defeat to Brentford three weeks ago.

While acknowledging the fans have every right to their opinions, Cook wants everyone to be singing from the same hymn sheet during the 90 minutes.

“This is a great league to be in, and we will fight and fight and fight to stay in it,” the Latics boss insisted.

“I think our support home and away, on the whole, has been excellent this season.

“It was disappointing at the last home game when we went behind, there were one or two comments about me and the club in general.

"But we’ve got to get behind the lads – that’s the most important thing.

“The Wigan fans have played their part in everything we’ve done ever since I came into the football club.

"Let’s have the same again...without maybe those one or two who’ve been on my back!

“Look, my position will be what it will be, that’s football life.

"I don’t clamour for time, I don’t ask for anything else...other than Wigan Athletic doing well and having success.

“If the fans get behind the team like I know they can, this club can have a prosperous future.

"Support your team – that’s all I ask.”

Cook rejects the notion the game is ‘must-win’ for his side, and says there’s no added pressure despite dropping into the relegation zone.

“Not particularly for me,” he said. “It’s the first time we’ve sat in the bottom three in the Championship in my tenure.

“The league table is there for everyone to see – if you’re Leeds or West Brom, you not promoted; and if you’re in the bottom three, you’re not certainly relegated.

“There’s so much football left to be played, and we’re focused on picking up points and moving up the table.”

Cook hinted there would be changes to ‘freshen’ his starting XI – Latics’ third game in the space of a week.

“There’s an opportunity to possibly put a little bit of freshness into the team,” he added.

“The lads have played a lot of football recently, we’ve done a lot of travelling.

"Maybe this is an opportunity for one or two lads who are on the fringes to come in and give a little ‘look, I should be playing’.”