Wigan Athletic still have 'great shout' of staying up - Sheffield United boss
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And despite Iliman Ndiaye's early goal handing Latics their first defeat in four matches - which leaves them eight points adrift of safety with only six games remaining - Heckingbottom still gives them a huge chance of staying up.
"It's looking tough, but you have to look at how they're playing, which I did in the lead-up," he said.
"I know people turned up to the game today expecting us to roll them over, thinking it was a team trying to get to the Premier League against the bottom of the table.
"But they haven't watched the amount of games involving Wigan that I've watched.
"From what I've seen, there's a real bravery when they get on the ball, they're not scared or fazed at the position they're in.
"That's probably the message Shaun's been giving them, and there's also a great energy about them.
"They're fighting and working for each other, so I think they're still in with a great shout.
"At this stage of the season, as tough as it looks, we're seeing results all the time - I see Huddersfield have won again - so it is doable.
“They don’t look like a group that's at the bottom of the league to me."