Paul Cook has urged Wigan Athletic to give promotion rivals Shrewsbury a ‘mountain’ to climb by winning at Rochdale on Tuesday night.
Latics play their final game in hand over the third-placed Shrews, looking to open up a five-point buffer with only six matches to go.
“Five points seems like an absolute mountain doesn’t it...five points!” Cook smiled.
“But I’m sure Shrewsbury will fancy their chances of bouncing back, as they have all season.
“As far as we’re concerned, if we would go to 86 points, with six games still to go, it would be fantastic.
“It just goes to show what a great job Shrewsbury, and Blackburn, have done to still be with us.
“Whichever two teams go up will fully deserve it.
“And whoever doesn’t finish in the top two, will be desperately unfortunate.”
A Rochdale win, or even a draw, would take Keith Hill’s men out of the drop zone, where they’ve spent much of the season – thanks partly to being as many as four games behind their rivals due to postponements.
“It is very much a false economy when you’ve got teams with a few games in hand,” Cook recognised.
“You’ve seen with ourselves, when we were so many games behind the others, you can’t judge anything until the games have balanced out.
“Blackburn were, and I need to be careful here...getting quite confident with what they were doing, while we weren’t playing.
“But until all the teams have played the same games, you don’t really know.
“Rochdale, at one point, had as many as four games in hand, and that’s a lot of points to play for.”
The amiable scouser, meanwhile, is hoping for a big double on the night, with Liverpool 3-0 up heading into the Champions League quarter-final second leg at Manchester City.
“Myself and (first-team coach) Anthony Barry were on about phoning Keith Hill to to move our game to Wednesday night – and that’s the truth,” laughed the Latics boss.
“In the end we thought it might be a little bit unprofessional of us, so we left it as it is.
“While the Liverpool game is important to us, it’s not quite as important as Rochdale, which is the really big one.”