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3 August 2018

Paul Cook looks ahead to the opening day of the season at the DW Stadium and gives an update on the latest team news against Sheffield Wednesday.

  • Watch: Paul Cook previews the 2018-19 Sky Bet Championship season opener.
  • Latics ready for Sheffield Wednesday test with strong opening day crowd expected at the DW Stadium.
  • Latics boss updates us on the fitness of defenders Dan Burn and Nathan Byrne.

2018-19 Season Cards

Speaking to iFollow Latics at the Wigan Athletic Training Centre on Friday morning, Latics boss Paul Cook previewed Saturday's Sky Bet Championship opener against Sheffield Wednesday.

PC on the start of the new campaign

"It’s a big game for us and it’ll be a fantastic first fixture. We really wanted to be at home and wanted a big club to really sample what the Championship will be all about and in Sheffield Wednesday I think we’ve got everything that we wanted. They’re a fantastic football club and I was over there last Saturday for the Villarreal game and they’ve got amazing support and such a loyal fan base that turn up no matter how well their team is doing. Eventually that support will get rewarded and they’ll get back to where they want to be, so everything about the game is fantastic."

PC on upcoming fixtures

"We’ve got Nottingham Forest up next at home and they’re not too dissimilar to Sheffield Wednesday, so the games will come thick and fast and we’re at Aston Villa next Saturday so for our supporters, players and myself it’s great and it’s everything that you want.

"We want to win though and football is nothing if you’re not winning games, so we’ve got a big challenge ahead of us tomorrow as they’ve got some great players and a style of play that’s really getting embedded into them now.

"The talent is there for all to see in terms of personnel on the pitch so it’s going to be a good game, but one thing I can guarantee is that we’ll go at them as well."

PC on pre-season preparations

"When you get beat 3-0 away from home at a stadium like Rangers and at half time you think you’re the only team that can go on to win the game, the natural thing is to be critical to your players and sometimes now for managers when we get interviewed so quickly after games, especially for managers like myself who sometimes can’t keep their mouths shut, naturally you just want to let emotion out.

"The first thing in all games is that you want to win and we were disappointed to lose the game last week, which can come out in an interview so as a manager it’s important you step back and you take stock of what your players are trying to do and the messages you’re giving them. Pre-season is all about getting ready for the first game of the season though and that’s here tomorrow and it’s one that’s full of excitement."

PC on Sheffield Wednesday

"You have to be careful sometimes that you don’t give the opposition too many pleasantries but when you do have the calibre of players such as Forestieri and Bannan in your team then you’re going to carry a massive threat.

"These are really good players who are top level players, but for me it’s not about Sheffield Wednesday, it’s about what we can do to impact the game and how can we take the game to them. We want to make sure our fans are off their seats and behind us and imploring us to go and win the game. Both teams will have a style of play and that’ll be quite apparent."

PC on team news

"We're going to be without Dan Burn and Nathan Byrne for the first game. Dan picked up a knock last weekend and had to come off at half time and Nathan's is nothing too serious, but he felt something when we were out in Spain, so it's best not to rush him back. Gavin Massey was ill last weekend which is why he didn't feature at Rangers."

PC on his signings and Callum McManaman

"I’ve been delighted with the acquisitions we’ve made over the summer and the characters we’ve brought to the club because we’re trying to build something that our supporters can be excited by. Football for me is far too short-term now so I think the better clubs are the ones that build for a bit of success, and certainly Callum coming in has been a fantastic signing for us and he’s settled in immediately."

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