Catch up with Lee Evans, speaking for Latics Listen and the official match day programme.
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- Catch Lee on the latest episode of Latics Listen and read his full interview in the match day programme against Derby County.
We’ve picked up points in our last three games against Reading, Blackburn Rovers and last Saturday against Bolton Wanderers, it must be a really positive mood in the camp right now?
“We needed to get a few results together after some tough games against some of the best teams in the division.
“We got the draw against Reading and followed it up with a very good win against Blackburn in the week. The point at Bolton was a good one, but we came away feeling we should have had all three.”
You featured in the last two games against Blackburn and Bolton, you must be happy to be back in the thick of it?
“I was heavily involved when I first came in and got into the team pretty much straight away. I’ve had a mixture of performances and missed a few games, but I’ve trained hard and worked to get back into the team as quickly as possible.
“Now it’s about continuing to play well and take chances when I’m given them. Being out of the team was a good kick up the backside for me, knowing I can’t coast through games. You have to have an impact in games and play well to keep your place in this team.
“With a player of (Darron Gibson) Gibbo’s experience, a captain like Samy (Morsy) and Callum Connolly, there’s plenty of competition, so when I get my chances, I need to take them with both hands."
We’ve seen some dominant midfield performances in the latest run of fixtures, how happy have you and your team mates been to control recent games?
“In any team the midfield needs to be consistent week in, week out. The battles are won or lost in the middle and I think me and Sam in the last few weeks, especially against Blackburn, have dominated those battles physically.
“On Saturday against Bolton we had a lot of the ball and got into a lot of good areas, but we couldn’t quite convert. We got into great areas to cross the ball, but we didn’t do as well as we normally do.”
Derby County are the visitors this weekend, and much like in October and November we’ll be up against a team aiming for promotion, what does today’s test bring?
“When the fixture list comes out you do look towards fixtures like this, teams like Derby, Leeds United, Aston Villa. They’re big clubs and you want to be involved, it’s everything the team worked for last season, to be in this league and compete against some of the country’s top teams.
“Derby are doing really well this season under Frank Lampard. They’ve adopted a new style of play and they’ve got a lot of good young players.
“A lot of teams have visited us this season and we’ve made it tough for them. We haven’t dropped many points at home and we’ll be looking to do exactly the same against Derby.”
We’ve only lost once in the league at the DW Stadium since February and on a personal note you haven’t lost a game at the DW Stadium for Latics, what do you put that home form down to?
“It’s a nice stat to have to my name, but there’s more to it than that of course.
“We’ll have a lot of tough games between now and the end of the season, but we back ourselves and the boys showed that last season during the FA Cup run.
“Premier League teams came here and were outplayed, culminating in beating Manchester City which nobody expected to happen.
“We want to make it tough for the opposition, any opposition, and we’ll continue to do that today against Derby.”