Cook: We won’t disrespect competition

Paul Cook
Paul Cook

Paul Cook insists the youthful Wigan Athletic side he plans to send out for Tuesday night’s final Checkatrade Trophy group game against Accrington is meant as no disrespect to the competition.

But at the same time the Latics manager remains mindful of where the much-maligned competition lies in the list of priorities this term.

“We have to be careful here, and I don’t want to be disrespectful to any competition,” he said.

“But at Wigan Athletic Football Club the league is our priority, then the FA Cup, then the Checkatrade Trophy (Latics are out of the League Cup).

“If we’d have been knocked out of the FA Cup at the weekend against Crawley, that would have changed my view on that.

“But because we are through to the second round, it puts a different slant on the Checkatrade Trophy.

“We’ve got a tough away game in the FA Cup (against Fylde), which might lead to a replay, and the games could come thick and fast.

“That’s not meant to be in any way disrespectful to the Checkatrade Trophy, but the team we send out will be very much with the next league game in mind.

“We’re not trying to be clever, or hiding things from our supporters.

“We know they pay good manager to come and watch us play football matches, and it’s important to keep them informed with what we’re trying to do.

“Hopefully then, if we put out a very young team, like we probably will, they will come out and back them.”

Latics are hoping for a third win out of three, having beaten Blackpool on penalties before a 4-1 demolition of Middlesbrough Under-21s last month.