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10 August 2018

Latics are on the road for the first time this season this weekend as they prepare to travel to Steve Bruce's Aston Villa.

  • Paul Cook spoke to the media at the club's training centre this morning ahead of the game at Aston Villa.
  • Latics aiming to build on last Saturday's impressive opening day win against Sheffield Wednesday.
  • Manager also discussed Dan Burn's move to the Premier League and a successful transfer deadline day.

2018-19 Season Cards

Speaking to iFollow Latics on Friday morning, Paul Cook previewed Saturday's clash against the Villans.

PC on transfer deadline day

"It was a very busy day but great credit to the chairman and the club for allowing us to make good business. I fully understand the fans’ perspective when they want to sign players, but you want to make sure you sign the right ones and for us we feel the additions we’ve made to the squad will greatly benefit the team for the forthcoming season."

PC on Lee Evans

"I’m absolutely delighted to get Lee, I think the fans had a taste of him for half a season last year and he’s a full Welsh international and a great character in the dressing room."

PC on timing of transfers

The problem these days for managers is that we get sacked far too quickly and patience has gone out of the game now so we fear for our jobs immediately after any sort of poor run of games. If you’re trying to plan going forward you need to wait for players to become available who fit what you require, and sometimes managers won’t do that because they know what’s at stake. For us we had an outstanding season in League One last year and we’ve gone into the summer knowing and wanting that we need strengthening, and feel we’re very strong now."

PC on how quickly football can change

"After the Rangers game you can only come out and add to the pessimism by being down and gloomy but behind the scenes you know what you’re working towards. I know it’s a morbid thing to say but you’ve got to enjoy your bad days, they’re part and parcel of football and the reason you have them is that they drive you on to have good days. If you look at the Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday games, they highlight a week in football and that’s exactly what you get as a manager."

PC on Dan Burn

"It always created a big problem for us with Brighton initially making contact. Obviously the player would want to leave like any natural player would want to do, and for us that would have left a massive void in our team and one possibly we were finding very difficult to bridge, so we spoke to them at length from our point of view and theirs, and I feel it was a fantastic outcome for everyone. It gives him the opportunity to go down there and sign and then it gives us the opportunity knowing we’ve got an outstanding man and footballer with us until January, which allows us time then to recruit a replacement. For me it’s a massive, massive plus and I have to thank everyone involved for managing to achieve that."

PC on Dan’s injury

"He had an extensive medical down at Brighton and they were delighted with his foot and how it’s coming on, so I wouldn’t want to put a timescale on it. From our point of view we’d like it to be tomorrow but from a doctor’s point of view they probably wouldn’t want it to be until X weeks, but the reality is he’s still some time away from playing however the likelihood is that he’s likely to play for us again very often and hopefully very well."

PC on Max Power and Ryan Colclough

"A massive thank you to both Max and Ryan, and for Ryan going to Scunthorpe it’s an opportunity for himself to go there and establish himself in a team and show everybody the player that’s in there. He’s a good lad and he’s got a chance at a club that will be going for promotion. For Max he’s been absolutely outstanding for me and for Wigan Athletic and I think there’ll be many a fan disappointed at him leaving, but sometimes when you have a personality like Max who wants to play football regularly, it’s hard to keep them happy so going to Sunderland was a good deal for everyone. It allows us to move on in areas that we probably want to strengthen and it satisfies Max in his pursuit of playing regular football. He’s a fantastic lad and we certainly wish him well."

PC on debuts at Villa Park

"We’ll just wait and see because last week we had the chaos of signings in the back four, and this week we’ve got more chaos so in terms of being a chaotic club we’re doing great at the minute. The dust will settle on all that though, and we had an outstanding team performance last week, but the only disappointment for us this week is that certain players will miss the game due to injury and there’s nothing we can do about that. There will be changes, will those come from within or will they come from new signings, I think everyone can wait and see. The boys we’ve brought in certainly make the underbelly of the squad very much stronger. For too long we’ve possibly had the same team picking itself but now that’s not the case at Wigan Athletic."

PC on playing at Villa Park

"I don’t think we’ll get a better fixture than Aston Villa away and that’s just my personal opinion. They are possibly the biggest club in the division, other clubs may argue that but I’m just talking for me, they are the benchmark of what a Premier League club should be. I think Steve (Bruce) has inherited a multitude of problems as they’ve gone along and he’s had to deal with them very professionally. They got beat at Wembley last year which will carry disappointment but I’m sure Steve’s track record will pick them up, they’re a fantastic club and we know we’re in for a difficult afternoon. It’s one we’re very much looking forward to in a weird sort of way."

PC on Alex and Steve Bruce

"I went across to watch Aston Villa vs Hull on Monday night and Alex was sitting right in front of me! I think they have a very strong family connection and both have had outstanding careers. Alex supports his Dad and for us Steve is a very good friend to our club and myself, but tomorrow there’s no love loss like that, it’ll be a very competitive game and we’ll apply ourselves properly. We don’t want to sit back and say we’re at Villa Park and what a lovely stadium it is, we want to take part in a game where people leave the stadium saying that was a good match."

PC on being hard to beat

"It’s hard in football because the best teams are the best at both ends of the pitch, and normally when you’re not doing well at one end you commit players to the other to pursue what you’re doing, which means you leave the other end open. When good teams go to a football game and want to have a match, the likelihood is that you can hurt each other, hence the game at the DW Stadium last Saturday. For us we want to go in wide-eyed and looking forward to the game, but we must be aware we can get hurt and I think our fans will accept that, so we’ve got to be careful that doesn’t happen too often. While the games are what they are and we can go into them well equipped, the most important thing is that we do concentrate on making sure we’re solid and hard to beat."

2018-19 Season Cards

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