Leon Barnett praises impact made by travelling Latics fans in closing stages of derby clash with Bolton.Leon Barnett paid tribute to Latics’ travelling fans as over 3,500 supporters made the trip to Bolton to cheer the lads on at the Reebok Stadium.
Nick Powell levelled for Uwe Rosler’s side after Lukas Jutkiewicz gave the hosts a first-half lead, but Jordi Gomez’s spot-kick was saved by Trotters keeper Adam Bogdan in injury-time as Latics were denied a return to winning ways after their midweek reverse at QPR.
And Barnett says it would have been nice to reward the fans with the win, though they must take the positives ahead of a busy run of home fixtures.
“We looked up when we came out the tunnel and there was probably nearly 4,000 fans there and it helps us massively,” Barnett said.
“It gave us that extra push, certainly in the last few minutes of the game, the boys appreciate it when the fans come and show their support like they did today.
“Nick came on and saved the day for us really, we didn’t start too well, they got the first goal and we knew after half-time that we needed to come out fighting and be better than we were in the first-half.
“We were unlucky to miss the penalty at the end – I’d put my house on Jordi to score but it was just one of them days where it wasn’t to be.”
Barnett missed Latics’ last three games due to a slight hamstring injury and he says he was glad to get back into the team as quickly as possible at a crucial stage of the campaign.
“I feel okay,” the 28-year-old added.
“I want to play as many games as I can between now and the end of the season.
“I want to be part of the success that the team is striving for and at the moment we’re doing okay, we’re still in the play-offs, still in a good position and looking good.”
Leicester City, who are just two wins away from securing promotion to the Premier League, visit the DW Stadium on Tuesday night before Leeds United travel from Yorkshire to face Latics on Saturday.
And Barnett says the big games provide a perfect opportunity for Latics to secure their own play-off spot with a no-fear attitude fully instilled within the group.
“They’re two massive games,” he continued.
“I think the boys know how good they are from previous games we’ve played against them.
“We’ve just got to do well, do our best to get three points and keep moving forward.
“I think if you want to go up, via the playoffs or automatically, you’re going to have play well against the big teams and you’re going to have to find a big performance.
“Leicester come here full of confidence knowing that a win will edge them closer to promotion but we’ve got our own aims and we’ve just got to try and dampen their day and get the three points.
“I think there’s been a belief here all season, even before the Manchester City game the gaffer told us not to be scared and go out there fighting and we’ve done exactly that.”