Paul Cook hints at Wigan Athletic selection plan for trip to Derby County

Manager Paul Cook has revealed he will be sticking with "the core" of the side that defeated Nottingham Forest for tonight’s trip to Derby County.

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 2:08 pm
Jamal Lowe handed Latics a 1-0 win in their last outing

Wigan Athletic were outstanding as Jamal Lowe’s first Latics goal ended high-flying Forest’s 10-game unbeaten run on Sunday.

And Cook says he planned to leave the team relatively unchanged at Pride Park - even if he did keep their most recent result in check.

“It was just a win. People can magnify results how they want - a win’s a win, a draw’s a draw, and a defeat’s a defeat - so we’re really pleased to get the three points on Sunday,” Cook reflected.

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"I think we performed very well in the game, but we now move on to Derby.

"It speaks volumes for how well Forest are doing as a team and a club so we acquitted ourselves really well in the game.

"Everything we wanted to do, we had done, but Forest certainly had their moments in the game for sure, but we certainly had moments to go and get the second goal so all in all, it’s a pleasing three points and puts us in a position in the league now where we’re content but we want to move on.

“We’ll pick from the pool of players that we have available. I think one of the things that all managers in the Championship for sure will look at with three games in a week is the effect that the energy that lads put into the games can have.

“We’re looking at that today (Tuesday), we’ve trained a small bit yesterday, and we’ve got a squad of players to pick from.

“Sam Morsy is back from suspension - so the core of the team will stay the same.”

While Cook confirmed Dujon Sterling will make his Championship debut in place of the suspended Nathan Byrne, the Liverpudlian will have a difficult decision on whether captain Morsy will return to the starting line-up with both Joe Williams and Lewis Macleod playing exceptionally well in the engine room.

“I think the headaches will always be there for managers,” he said.

“When you have a squad as strong as you can have, I think if you haven’t got selection headaches, there’s a problem for players in the squad because it means they are not pushing hard enough to play.

“Every single player on our team played well on Sunday, and I think when you do that, that always gives the manager a selection problem.

“I think with the volume of games, certainly in the flair players’ positions with some of the injuries that we’ve had over last season going into this could affect that thought process, but certainly the core of the team will stay exactly the same.”

With one win from their last 28 matches away from the DW Stadium, Wigan will have two opportunities to smash the away-day hoodoo once and for all as they travel to Derby and Bristol City over the next five days.

“Our focus is on the Derby game first as we generally take each game as it comes around,” said Cook.

“But Bristol obviously, comes around quick enough with it being on the Sunday, so the plan and the details have all gone in.

“The hotels, travel, and everything is done, and we’re just looking forward to going to Derby, obviously on the back of a strong performance.

“Can we give another strong performance? I think that’s what our supporters are desperately craving.

“I think that’s one of the things as a supporter that you do. I think unfortunately for us, the home form and away form are just so starkly, and different.

“It’s probably my most over-asked question – what do you do when you go away?

“I think as you can imagine, we want to solve that. There’s a massive feeling around the club to give the travelling supporters that, but the Wigan supporters will always travel.

“The fans who travel across to Derby are not thinking of our last away defeat, they’ll be thinking we beat Forest, so can we beat Derby, and I can only assure them that the players and staff are thinking the same.”