Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook sees no reason to worry after draw with Rotherham
Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook insists his side are still in pole position for the League One title despite being held to a 0-0 draw at home by Rotherham.
After dominant wins over MK Dons and Rochdale in their last two outings, Latics fell below their usual standards in the stalemate.
Indeed, it was the visitors who came closest to breaking the deadlock, leaving Cook to reflect on a point gained rather than two dropped.
“I thought it was a fair result, because Rotherham were excellent, especially early on,” assessed the Latics boss..
“Sometimes the easy thing is to be negative towards your own team, and that can mean you forget to give credit to the opposition.
“We’ve been a free-scoring team of late and we did create a few chances again, I have to say.
“But so did they, which made for a good game, a competitive game.
“We weren’t quite at it, and I think our supporters will give the players that after the season we’ve had.
“Obviously we’re delighted to still be top, five games to go, and everything’s still in our favour.”
Cook’s decision to field Nick Powell - who’d limped off at half-time four days earlier at Rochdale with a thigh injury - didn’t pay off, with the playmaker again forced to call it quits at the break.
“Nick just didn’t quite look happy on the pitch, and he’s one of them players who, when he’s on his game, he plays like 10 men,” Cook mused.
“He didn’t look quite at it from the off, and we thought it was best to bring him off at the break to protect him.
“We’ve got other players who are champing at the bit for an opportunity, and it was a challenging day for me as a manager - because you want to make the correct subs.
“We could have brought on (James) Vaughan at half-time, but I think that might have meant us giving up the middle of the pitch.
“In these games, if you give up the middle of the pitch, you’re in trouble, and Gary Roberts was excellent when he came on.
“You always want to give your fans that excitement of two up top, but you’ve also got respect the opposition and what they can do as well.”
Despite the inevitable feeling of disappointment, Latics remain top of the table with second-placed Blackburn conceding a 94th-minute equaliser at Bristol Rovers.
And Cook admits he’s still delighted with the way things are going ahead of the last five mntches..
“We won this league two years ago with 87 points,” he added.
“We’ve got that now with five games to go - and we’re not up, we’re nowhere near up.
“Our lads are doing outstandingly well, they’re a cracking bunch of players, and they give me everything every day.
“I hear the crowd baying for Christian (Walton) to kick it long at the end, but every point is vital at this point in the season.”