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9 March 2018

Boss previews Latics' Sky Bet League One clash with Scunthorpe United as his side return to the DW Stadium.

  • WATCH: Paul Cook on Latics' clash with Scunthorpe United in Sky Bet League One on Saturday
  • Cook discusses team news, Graham Alexander's side and Latics' fixture programme
  • Cook: "We’re full strength going into Scunthorpe so great credit to the medical team."

PC on this week’s preparation

The games will come thick and fast now after the weekend. We obviously played last Sunday so we’ve had a good week’s preparation in relation to Scunthorpe so the lads are very much looking forward to it.

PC on the fixture list

We’ve just got to keep going because it’s what we’ve been dealt with. We go to Bradford on Wednesday, have Southampton on Sunday and then have another midweek game the week after, but we’re very much just approaching each game as they come. The season will take care of itself now though and other people will be guessing what others will do but nobody knows that, we’ve just got to take care of our work and we start with a very difficult game against Scunthorpe.

PC on his side’s tactics

Last Sunday was a prime example of our style not impacting the game. In most games this season we’ve enjoyed watching ourselves play because we feel we’re the dominating team on the pitch and the likelihood is that we go on and win, but that’s not always the case. It was a case of needs must for us last week and we had players in the squad such as Max Power who can move around and play in a couple of different positions but equally be very effective. Come this run in though it’s not about style of play or philosophies, it’s about winning games and for any team that wants to be promoted or stay safe they must win football matches. We’re no different to anyone else.

PC on his experiences over the past few seasons

I’d love to tell you I look back and know what to implement but I don’t think anyone can tell you that. My big thing is trusting players in the squad we have and then come the end of the season we’ll finish where we deserve. If we’re not promoted then the easiest thing to say will be that the cup run got in the way but beating Manchester City in a cup run for me doesn’t get in the way. I think people can look for excuses if we fail but if we’re not to do well or aren’t successful, then in my opinion it’ll be because we haven’t deserved to be. For us now it’s very much in our hands and I like it like that, I want destiny in my own hands. There were different comments made about us after the Blackburn game but we know if we win our games then we win this league. It’s a massive factor in it.

PC on team news

We’re full strength going into Scunthorpe so great credit to the medical team. Nick Powell’s come through everything and James Vaughan was excellent when he came on, so the challenge as a manager now is picking the right team. In modern day football if you win it’s the right team but if you lose it’s not, that’s the game now. There’ll be two or three changes to the squad on Saturday and then there’ll probably be changes when we go to Bradford, and I think our supporters would accept that. It’s not me trying to tinker with the squad, it’s me trying to keep everyone fresh and keeping an eye on the objectives, which is primarily without a doubt to be promoted.

PC on Max Power, James Vaughan, Will Grigg and Michael Jacobs

Max’s delivery is excellent and it’s a little bit like Jonny Wilkinson’s, and we’ll come across the lad Josh Morris tomorrow who isn’t too dissimilar. Max can impact a game wherever he plays and Vaughany’s impact was there for all to see too. We know what James is going to bring to the table and Will Grigg is probably in as good a scoring mode as he’s been in during his Wigan career. Michael Jacobs is coming back into things too which is nice to see, so we’ve got a good squad and we’re really pleased with it. I’m sure by the end of the season it will be utilised with everyone playing.

PC on Scunthorpe

They’ve had a very solid time under Graham Alexander and they’ve occupied strong positions throughout his time there. They’re probably in the lowest position they’ve been in all season which is fifth, and nowadays it seems like we’ve done something wrong when teams are in fifth position because people will only comment on their bad run, but just imagine the run they were on at the start of the season to get where they are today. People don’t have that foresight in football anymore and it’s quite sad really. Graham’s put together an excellent squad of players and whatever team they put on the pitch will be very strong, well organised and carry threats.

PC on Graham Alexander

He’s had good success and has obviously managed Fleetwood and got them out of the division before going to Scunthorpe and getting them into the play-offs. He’s had a distinguished career and is doing excellent at management. They’re always a tough team to play against. 

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