Wigan Athletic '˜aiming for Easter No.1 spot!'
Wigan Athletic head into the always-important Easter period looking to regain top spot for the first time in several weeks.
And for assistant manager Leam Richardson, seeing the table with Latics on top would once again make for very pleasant viewing, after having to look up at both Blackburn and Shrewsbury through no fault of their own.
“We’ve been playing catch-up for a lot of the season because of our FA Cup run,” Richardson recognised.
“It’s all right having games in hand, but you’ve got to win them to make them significant, and thankfully we’ve been able to do that.
“In fairness I don’t think we’ve ever felt as a group that we’ve been trailing the other teams at the top.
“We’ve always drummed into them about where we feel we should be, and hopefully where we end up.
“The good thing is we are a very strong group mentally, and that’s helped us to make up that ground.
“Despite everything that was going on with the cup run, we never took our eyes off the ball in terms of the league.
“We’ve managed to almost catch up the other sides in terms of games, and hopefully come the end of the season we’ll be where we deserve to be.”
The Easter programme often proves to be hugely significant in the final standings, and Richardson says at this time of year it’s more about tweaking rather than wholesale changes.
“The main thing is ensuring the guys are as fresh as they can be,” the Latics assistant boss explained.
“The games are coming thick and fast and there’s no time in between to get a lot done. You’re relying on all the work you’ve done in pre-season in terms of the conditioning.
“From then on it’s about repeating the processes, and reminders along the way.
“There are different groups to be managed around the squad, and it’s important that everyone’s game-time is topped up.
“We’re heading into a month when we’ll be playing a game more or less every time we open our eyes, which for us is a good thing.”
Boasting arguably the biggest and best squad in the division, Richardson is hoping Latics can take advantage of that strength in depth over the coming weeks.
“It can go different ways at other clubs when you have a big, competitive squad,” he added.
“But we’ve got lads out of the squad who are desperate for the boys in the squad to do well, and that’s a good path to be on.
“In my opinion and the manager’s opinion, it’s the lads who aren’t playing who need looking after the most.
“It will be their turn at some point in this run-in and they’ll want the same support.
“It’s important to build that mentality around the club, and thankfully we’ve got that. The lads have been a pleasure to work with, and long may that continue.”