‘Point would be good...win would be better!’ - Wigan Athletic boss
Paul Cook admits a draw this weekend would be welcomed far more by Wigan Athletic than Reading – but that won’t stop his side going all-out for all three to deliver a significant blow to their relegation rivals.
Sixth-bottom Latics hold a three-point advantage over the fourth-bottom Royals, who are ahead of third-bottom Rotherham on goal difference.
All of which means Latics could slip into the bottom three for the first time this season if results go against them.
But on the flip side, there could be a six-point buffer come Saturday night.
“If you look at our away record, we’d be doing handstands back up the motorway with a point,” assessed Cook, whose side drew 0-0 with Reading at the 0-0 in November.
“It would keep Reading three points behind us, so a point would be good in that respect. But we will only be fixated on winning the game.
“I’ve been lucky during my career that my teams have got used to winning.
“This year’s been quite difficult for me, having to put up with the disappointment of losing matches.
“Have I enjoyed this season? No...no, you can’t!
“It’s hard watching your team out there and you can’t help them. We started the season like a team that would have a really strong year.
“We’ve been littered by injuries, but we’ve come through the other side.
“And we’re still on course to achieve what, at the start of the season, would have been everyone’s goal.”
Despite the huge ramifications of every possible result, Cook insists nothing will be settled this weekend – with 10 matches still to be played.
“If we were to lose at Reading and Blackburn and at home against Bolton next weekend, would we be relegated?” he continued. “No.
“If we were to win all three games, would we stay up? Probably, yes. There’s so much football to be played, and it’s all still to play for.
“I think Bolton were a goal down with two minutes of last season to go, and they managed to win the game and survive.
“That shows how far the other teams will take it to, and we have to show the same kind of determination to hold on to our status.”
Despite the stakes being so high, Cook is keeping everything in perspective.
“The league table determines we are in a relegation battle, and we know that – we’re not stupid,” he added.
“Winning football matches is what we’re paid to do.
“If you win enough football matches, you won’t be in a relegation battle. It’s quite simple for me.”