Latics boss Paul Cook previews his side’s clash with Rochdale in Sky Bet League One.
- Paul Cook looking to move on quickly from Man City victory as Latics focus their priorities.
- Latics likely to make changes for Rochdale clash at the DW Stadium.
- “Keith Hill is an outstanding manager.” – Paul Cook
Speaking to iFollow Latics at the Wigan Athletic Training Centre on Friday morning, Paul Cook took time to preview his side’s Sky Bet League One clash with Rochdale at the DW Stadium.
PAUL COOK ON FOCUSING PRIORITIES AFTER MAN CITY
“There will always be a carry on from such a result, but we must move on now because our game against Rochdale is such an important one.
“When you beat a team like Manchester City, the moment naturally lasts a lot longer than a league win because of the nature of the achievement.
“It was great for everyone and it’s hard to emphasise what the lads have achieved. The players on the pitch for Man City are some of the elite in world football.
“The club carried itself in a great light and the stadium was rocking, the whole evening went really well for us.
“It’s gone now and we all know Rochdale will be formidable opponents on Saturday. We can’t let this FA Cup run detract from our priorities in the league.
“The cup has always been second in our list of trying to be successful, the league being the first.”
PAUL COOK ON HIS SQUAD
“The fixtures are going to come thick and fast now as the games get rearranged. The squad will get tested now because I believe that when you have the depth of performance we had on Monday, freshness in the team is huge.
“It’s going to give other lads opportunities to come in. At the start of the season we said the most important thing is the squad and if we’re going to be successful at the end of the season, we’re going to need the togetherness and quality to get us home.
“We can’t keep picking the same lads. There are a couple of players out this weekend with injuries because of Monday night, and those injuries come from fatigue.
“When you work as hard as the lads did on Monday night, the natural thing will be a little bit of carry on from that.
“The reason you like senior players such as David Perkins, Gary Roberts and Noel Hunt so much is because you trust them to do their jobs.
“You expect players like that to do their jobs, that’s why they’ve had such distinguished careers.
“We’ll put the strongest team we can out on Saturday, certainly the fit players like Christian Walton, Chey Dunkley and Dan Burn, who have been the rocks of our team.
“It’s important that we plan and prioritise who plays this weekend because we’re going to Bristol Rovers on Tuesday and Blackburn next Sunday.
“We have to pick the right team, but in football nowadays you’re only judged to have picked the right team if you win, but I don’t believe in that.
“The right team is picked with the thought process of trying to win the game.”
PAUL COOK ON CURRENT LEAGUE POSITION
“We’ve got two formidable opponents at the moment in Shrewsbury Town and Blackburn Rovers, and if you can’t see Rotherham United coming up behind you then there’s something wrong with you.
“Amongst the other teams, Scunthorpe United will still have aspirations of putting a run together, so for me it’s still between five or six teams.
“You underestimate any team in our division at your peril, we saw that ourselves with Blackpool. Bury have had an upturn in form recently at the bottom of the league, MK Dons have slipped into a position that nobody saw coming, it just shows that anything can happen in this division. Look at Southend United, they are racing up the table now under Chris Powell and Plymouth Argyle have been winning games since the end of last year."
PAUL COOK ON ROCHDALE
“I’ve got great time for Keith Hill, he has had an outstanding managerial career to date.
“He’s a really good student of the game and his team plays in a proper way. He’s had a magnificent time at Rochdale with promotions and cup runs.
“I’m surprised to see them in the league position they are in, there’ll be reasons for that, but Keith is an outstanding manager and, in my opinion, certainly one of the best in our division.
“Rochdale have got a great balance of being able to introduce younger players, mixed with the experience of players like Ian Henderson.
“They’re a very good club who continue to fight above their weight, and tomorrow we’re in for a very difficult game.
“Rochdale go to Wembley in midweek to play Tottenham, and it’s hard for lads at our level because no matter what we say as staff, it’s always in players’ minds, of course it is.”