Toney's hopes to pile pressure on old hero Hasselbaink
Wigan Athletic striker Ivan Toney once looked up to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink for inspiration on becoming a top striker.
But the former Northampton favourite is now hoping to prove his gratitude in the worst way by piling the pressure on the Cobblers boss!
This afternoon’s clash at Sixfields will have major ramifications at the top and bottom of the League One table.
While Latics are hoping to extend their lead at the top, the Cobblers are hoping for points to lift them away from the relegation zone.
Toney insists there’ll be no room for sentiment as he - along with Michael Jacobs - returns to the club and the town where it all started for him.
And the priority will be picking up three points that will push Latics closer towards an instant return to the second tier.
“The team’s obviously doing well at the moment, but it’s only halfway and there’s still plenty of the season to go,” he told the Wigan Post.
“We know we’ve still got half the job still to do, and our focus will remain on that.
“In this league, it’s a cliche but every team can beat every other team, and we need to keep taking it one game at a time.
“We’ve got to treat every game as a cup final - no more or less important than the last one - and that should stand us in good stead.
“No-one at the club is getting ahead of themselves, and that’s very important.
“Everyone’s chipping in at the moment - we’re not relying on any individuals to get us through.
“That’s what’s great about this group of players, and long may it continue.”
Toney, on loan from Premier League Newcastle, admits he owes his hometown club everything for setting him on the path to the top.
“It’s the club where it all started for me, and I owe them so much,” Toney acknowledged.
“I’m from Northampton itself, not too far from the stadium, and I was a big fan as a kid.
“It was a dream of mine to play for Northampton, and thankfully I was able to make that happen.
“Chris Wilder and Aidy Boothroyd showed a lot of faith in me and I’ll never forget that.
“I was always happy at Northampton, but then the interest from Newcastle came and you have to think of your career.
“Any player wants to play at the highest level possible, and it was the right move for me at the time.
“But Northampton made me the player I am and I’ll never forget that.
“I still keep in touch with a few of the lads there and we’ll be saying hello after the game - but not before!
“I know Michael Jacobs is also looking forward to going back, and hopefully we’ll get decent receptions.”
If Toney does manage to find the back of the net, Town boss Hasselbaink will only have himself to blame for being the perfect mentor!
“I watched a lot of Jimmy during my childhood and he was a great player,” enthused Toney.
“He’s shown he’s a good manager as well and I’m hoping he’s the man to get the Cobblers out of the trouble they’re in.
“It’s a great club and they should be doing a lot better than they are at the moment.
“They’ve got the players there, and I’m sure it’ll come good for them.”
And if he is presented with a chance to win the game, Toney admits there’ll be no issue about divided loyalties.
“Obviously I’m a Wigan player now though and all my loyalties are with them,” he added.
“If I have a chance to win us the game, I’ll be doing everything I can to do that.”