Warnock: Rams test will need mental toughness
Stephen Warnock admits Wigan Athletic will have to display real '˜mental toughness' to give high-flying Derby a run for their money on New Year's Eve.
Latics are looking to bounce back from the dismal Boxing Day defeat at rock-bottom Rotherham, when they were 3-0 down at half-time after a woeful opening 45 minutes.
Second-half goals from Yanic Wildschut and Jordi Gomez were too little, too late to make a difference at the New York Stadium.
And Warnock knows a massive improvement will be needed across the board to give them any chance of taking something from in-form Derby this weekend.
“We’ve got to show a mental toughness now, a resilience and a togetherness, to bounce back,” Warnock told the Evening Post.
“It’s just difficult to put your finger on exactly what it is that’s going wrong at the moment. We know we need to lift ourselves first and foremost.
“We need to work out how to do that, and we have to do that as a squad.”
Promotion-chasing Derby will fancy their chances of repeating their 1-0 victory at the DW Stadium on December 3, when Bradley Johnson popped up with the only goal to settle a tight encounter.
All the form points to a home win, but Warnock says it’s up to Latics to throw a spanner in the works – and give themselves a real shot in the arm to take into 2017.
“It doesn’t get any easier for us, but the league is very tough,” the Latics skipper added.
“The teams at the top of the league will tell you that – they don’t go into every game thinking they’re going to win.
“They’ll be looking at us, knowing we’re capable of causing them an upset if we perform.
“They’ll be looking at our win at Huddersfield last month as proof we can win against the teams at the top.
“We’ve given a lot of other teams a tough test, including Derby here last month.
“They’ll know what we’re capable of, but they’ll also know we can be a soft touch because we’ve suffered so many defeats – and we have to show everyone what we’re made of.”