Oliver Gildart admits Wigan are in last-chance saloon as they bid to keep hold of their Super League crown.
The eighth-placed Warriors head into today’s clash with Widnes seven points adrift of the all-important top four, with only four games to go before the competition splits for the Super-8s.
And having gone eight league games without a win – the club’s worst run since 1903 – Gildart knows the time for talking is long gone.
“We don’t want to chance it,” the 20-year-old acknowledged. “We can’t really afford to have many more losses, as much for team morale as the table, and getting some confidence back. We’ve had a tough time, but we’ve got some bodies back now and we need to kick on.
“Obviously you’d rather go well all year, but this happens, it’s sport, and sometimes you don’t get the results. We’ve just got to make sure we get it right this week.
“These next four games are massive for us. We need to win all of these games.”
Having booked their place in the last four of the Challenge Cup a fortnight ago, Wigan came agonisingly close to ending their miserable run in the league last weekend, only to be held 19-19 at seventh-placed Huddersfield after a spirited comeback.
“We started terribly against Huddersfield, and if you give someone a 13-point lead it is going to be a struggle,” Gildart recognised.
“Errors again, penalties... and we’re making errors in our own half, we’re doing so much defending that, when we get the ball, we’re tired.
“We just made it hard for ourselves, and we’re just not used to it.
“At this club, you’re not used to losing so many games and it’s been tough.
“But we’ve kind of been here before, when people have doubted us, and we came back and won a Grand Final (last year), so hopefully we can do something similar.”
Interestingly, Warriors haven’t lose a game this year in which Gildart – who was sidelined for three months after suffering a horror injury at Leeds in March – has finished.
He also has happy memories of facing Widnes, after scoring the late, winning try against them in the second game of the campaign.
“Yeah, I got the last-minute try,” he smiled. “But we made hard-work of it last time.
“We’re looking for a solid performance and try and start getting some wins now.
“Widnes seem to be a bogey team, with a few ex-Wigan lads.”
Winger Liam Marshall has been left out of the 19-man squad, despite scoring 22 tries in his 19 games this year. Lewis Tierney has replaced him on the wing.
Joe Burgess will switch back to his familiar wing spot as Anthony Gelling returns at right centre.