‘A big atmosphere’ and ‘high intensity’ at the DW Stadium this weekend says Ali Al Habsi.
In April 2011 Wigan Athletic travelled to Blackpool in an end of season showdown in the Barclays Premier League which would spark a sensational revival for Latics as they ran out 3-1 winners on the day at Bloomfield Road.
Just over three years later and Latics once again face the Tangerines in a game with plenty at stake for both sides, something which Ali Al Habsi believes will make for a very interesting game, similar to the previous end of season clash.
“I think Saturday will be a similar day as the time we played Blackpool in 2011.
“I remember that game so well, we started fantastically and we were leading 3-0 in what was one of the very big pressure games at the end of the season.
“We were away from home and a lot of fans travelled, they were incredible that day and it showed on the pitch because there was a clear impact on how we played.
“We played really well that day, but what we need to take from those memories is just how much the supporters got behind the team.”
Al Habsi (pictured in 2011 v Blackpool) continued:
“There will be a big atmosphere and high intensity because ourselves and Blackpool have a lot to play for.
“We show ourselves for the big games, we seem to gain confidence from big occasions and if we can just go out and play our game then we’ll be able to make it a very good afternoon for the club.”
Fully focused on helping the side to cement their place in the Sky Bet Championship play-offs, Al Habsi also insisted that despite three points being enough to earn that spot, Latics will be searching for more than that in the final three games of the season.
“One thing I don’t want from Saturday is for it to be our last home game of the season, we have to have positive attitudes and believe in ourselves that we will secure a play-off place and extend our season.
“We know what we have to do now, we’ve got to make sure we’re 100% in the play-offs because we’ve worked hard this season and it’s crucial that we finish the job.
“We have two more games after Saturday against Birmingham and Blackburn, but we don’t want to leave it any later than this weekend, we’re more determined than ever to achieve our goals.”
Al Habsi added:
“As much as we want to win the game against Blackpool, we’re not just going out into our next three games thinking three points will be acceptable.
“We want to keep winning and make sure we end the league season with as many points as possible to keep up a winning mentality.
“It’s important to enter the play-offs on the back of a good end to the season, it’s not going to be easy, but as long as we have a positive attitude and belief then we know we can be successful.”
Reminiscing back to the scenes at Bloomfield Road in 2011, Al Habsi said a similar ‘lively’ crowd will help to reproduce another result.
“I know the fans will be very lively in the stands just like they were that day at Blackpool and I’m really looking forward to it.
“That’s what we need this Saturday because it’s another pressure situation at the end of the season.
“Everything is in our hands and we know exactly what we can do against teams, but we must reproduce a similar performance to the one we had against Reading last Friday because the fans really enjoyed that.”