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23 November 2018

Sit down with Paul Cook at the Wigan Athletic Training Centre and get his thoughts ahead of Latics' Sky Bet Championship clash with Reading at the DW Stadium.

  • Watch: Paul Cook's Reading preview.
  • Latics boss says Will Grigg should return from injury this weekend.
  • Reading very much the immediate focus as Latics prepare for a big week ahead.

Reading H
Cash turnstiles on the East and South Stands.

Paul we're back after the international break, what did you get up?

"Saturday I was watching Fleetwood vs Walsall and Accrington vs Barnsley, so it certainly wasn’t Dubai and all of the places a lot of people had gone!

"As we’ve said before the international breaks are what they are. I think a lot of the senior managers have been well used to it, for myself, my staff, certainly on the back of losing to Middlesbrough, the thought of having a break, doesn’t really sit fit does it?

"I think the supporters will always be happy knowing that the lads have been in training, working and doing the best they can to get off this little run that we’ve found ourselves on.”

Is it a balance between the two? Because you can linger on the result however the players can recharge their batteries?

“I think you’ve got to be fair to the players. Sometimes the reason is because you weren’t good enough, but people don’t really accept that reason. You’ve got to do something tactically or the manager’s got to come up with some magical formula.

"At the minute, we’re not doing things in games that you would expect us to do. That’s the best way I can describe it. We’re not getting overrun in games, we’re not getting outplayed, we’re not giving up boatloads of chances, we’re just making a few individual mistakes, and a couple of decisions on the pitch are leading to the opposition getting a goal that leads to a lack of confidence and that leads to all of the above.

"The quicker we can eradicate certain elements of our play, in the hope that the rest of it will come together.”

How are the injured personnel getting on?

“Will Grigg's been training, he probably can be, and will be involved, but as you can imagine we’re certainly not going to be rushing people back.

"There’s nobody else close to fitness apart from Will. So that is something that we will probably have to get on with rather than something we speak about each week like something magical is going to happen. The players in the building are going to have to find a way, which we all believe we can to get some result.”

Has it been difficult to contend with?

"No not at all, because for a manager it can become an excuse. Has players being out injured cost us results? That would be open for debate.

"Have individual mistakes in the team cost us results? I’d prefer to stay on the latter. I’d want to eradicate and do the best we can with any players at the club available.

"Every team misses players if you’ve got good players out injured, but for me as a manager, injuries and suspensions, they’re all part of the game.

"Last year we were so lucky, we went so long without anyone picking up anything. This year we’re in such a tough division. It takes you by surprise, especially if you haven’t experienced it. Not the size the clubs or the size of the games. It’s just the demands of a game. Lads are physically tired after a game, it does take it all away."

You've got a double header coming, what sort of game are you expecting from Reading?

"You only have to look at Reading’s squad and you realise like Blackburn, it’s full of good players. They’ve had some smashing results as of late. They’ve got threats in the team like most teams so it’s a game that both teams will want to win."

Will you pick a team based on Reading or will you try and balance with Blackburn ahead?

"I think for us it’s very much all systems go in the hope and realisation that we get three points against Reading. Our sights are set on Reading and Blackburn will come after that."

Not sure how much interest you’ve taken, but you’ve been linked with the Republic of Ireland job, is that a distraction for you?

"I think for all managers, it’s important to be very focused on what you’re doing. I’ve started work at Wigan now that I thoroughly enjoy.

"I have no aspirations of leaving the club in any shape or form. The new owners are very clear in what they have planned and I very much want to be apart of that.

"While all links to anything are very, very great, especially at a time where you’re not winning they’re even better, but Wigan Athletic is very much my future."

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