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13 October 2017

  • WATCH: Paul Cook on Latics' clash with Southend United at the DW Stadium on Saturday.
  • Cook confirms Michael Jacobs is available again for clash with the Shrimpers.
  • "Southend have been on a very good run as of late," says Cook.

Paul Cook is expecting another difficult challenge against Southend United at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon, but is confident his side can extend their winning run.

Goals from Dan Burn and Nick Powell were enough to beat Scunthorpe United last weekend, which strengthened Latics’ grip on second place after previous wins over Plymouth Argyle and Walsall.

Phil Brown’s Shrimpers head to the North West off the back of a 4-1 reverse at Doncaster Rovers last Saturday, and currently reside in 15th position in League One.

Speaking to iFollow Latics ahead of the game, Cook said: “We picked up a good result at Scunthorpe last week and we’re now looking forward to Saturday. We’ve done okay on our travels and we’ve got a good amount of points. It’s better to win and lose than draw games, albeit it doesn’t look as good, the points tally adds up better.

“Injuries and suspensions have played a big part in Southend’s start to the season. They’ve been on a very good run as of late but they’ve lost quite a few important players through injury and that impacts every team. They’ll prepare how they feel is right for the game and any team with Nile Ranger and Simon Cox up top is formidable opposition in this league, and possibly above.”

Latics have picked up 28 points from their opening 12 league games, which represents the best ever start to a season in the club’s history, but Cook was quick to play it down.

“It’s a start and that’s all it is. There’ll be teams out there who lose three games on the bounce and there’ll be teams who win three, but that’s football and it can change so quickly. Nobody can predict what’s about to come, but what is important is the preparation we do before games, none more so than Saturday’s game. We must prepare properly for what will be a very difficult game.”

Michael Jacobs and Samy Morsy are expected to return to the squad, with Cook full of praise for captain Morsy who was part of the Egypt squad which secured their place at next summer’s World Cup last Sunday evening.

“Crackers is fine and has trained well this week so will come back into contention. I thought we were brilliant last Saturday without Crackers, Samy and Reece James, and it was important that the squad stood up to that test. It was precautionary for Michael and we thought it would just be better for us if we lost him for the game knowing that he’d come back into a team that will hopefully go on a run.

“It’s a great honour for Samy and a great achievement for Egypt to reach the World Cup. You see the likes of Argentina only just making it this week and countries like America missing out, so it’ll offer Samy the opportunity at the end of the season to be involved in a massive tournament. It’ll be a fantastic experience for him and we’re so proud. I’ve got great time for Samy as a lad and as a player. He lives his life for football and is very committed to Wigan Athletic and gets everything he can out of his career. He’s a role model of a player.

Finally, the club will be holding a minute’s applause ahead of Saturday’s game to remember the life of former manager Ian McNeill, who sadly passed away earlier this week.

“It’s very sad for Ian’s family and it’s a great mark of respect from our club that we’re showing our appreciation to Ian before the game.”

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