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PREVIEW: "WE'RE NOT SILLY, WE KNOW BRISTOL CITY ARE VERY STRONG." - PAUL COOK

20 September 2018

Paul Cook looks ahead to another exciting fixture under the lights at the DW Stadium as Latics take on Lee Johnson's Bristol City.

  • Watch: Paul Cook's Bristol City preview.
  • Latics boss expects another attacking encounter at the DW Stadium on Friday night.
  • Enforced changes will be needed following Tuesday's 2-1 win against Hull City.

Bristol City H

Speaking to iFollow Latics on Thursday morning at the Wigan Athletic Training Centre in Euxton, Paul Cook discussed his side's chances against Bristol City in the Sky Bet Championship at the DW Stadium on Friday night.

PAUL COOK ON BRISTOL CITY

"Any game under the lights is exciting and especially to come up against a side with the quality that Bristol City have.

"They're good form apart from their defeat to West Brom on Tuesday night. The scoreline of that defeat isn't a great reflection on the way they played.

"They showed their quality last season and had a tremendous cup run in the League Cup, but it probably caught up with them in the league in terms of pushing for a play-off place.

"I'm sure Lee (Johnson), his staff and the club will have aspirations of being up and around those places and when you watch them you can obviously see why.

"The games are there for everyone to see, it's fantastic to have two home games in a week and we're really looking forward to this.

"The test for every club is team selection and I'm sure Lee is in a similar position to us with lads who might miss out on the game through injuries."

PAUL COOK ON LATICS' START TO THE SEASON

"Like every team we have strengths and weaknesses, and as a manager you're always looking to strengthen those weaknesses.

"Every team has the ability to hurt the opposition and we saw that with how well Hull City started the game on Tuesday night.

"We're delighted with the start we've had, if someone had offered us this start in such a tough division we'd have been delighted. We go into Friday's game and everyone knows what we're about, we have the freshness of a team that believes they can win the game, but we're not silly, we know Bristol City are very strong.

"They've got an excellent young manager, the team is very good and they have an energy about them that means our hands will be full on the night."

PAUL COOK ON MAINTAINING FORM

"I genuinely don't look back. I'm not one of those managers who'll sit there and say 'aren't we doing well', as everyone has seen in this division, some teams go five, six or seven games without winning and that could be us next.

"Aston Villa have just come out of a bad run. With all due respect to Preston and Millwall, they were two of the strongest teams in the division last season and they're now both in the midst of runs that aren't great. Both of those teams will come out of it and it can happen to anyone in a heartbeat.

"We've got to stay focused on being as positive as we can, analysing the games on how we can improve and get better."

PAUL COOK ON TEAM NEWS

We'll have players missing tomorrow night," Cook began, "but I won't got into that in too much depth.

"Tuesday night has taken its toll on a couple of the lads, but it is what it is and it gives other lads opportunities to come in.

"Would we change the team Saturday-Tuesday-Friday regardless? Probably, yes. Maybe we should.

"We're going to have some enforced changes and that will be decided today (Thursday) and then we look forwards to how we want to play and how we can win the game.

"We've had some bumps and bruises this season. We've just had Michael Jacobs out for four or five weeks, Gavin Massey will be out for a period of time and Dan Burn is just coming back.

"We're going to be a little bit short on Friday night in terms of our usual starting XI, but that gives the rest of the squad the perfect opportunity to show themselves on the pitch.

"We'll have a longer break next week which will allow us to get some of the numbers back.

"This isn't me feeling in any way sorry for us because I'm not. This is what people don't really see behind the scenes.

"Callum McManaman isn't out long term, but I'm not sure if he'll make Bristol City. It's disappointing for him because these game periods come around and give players opportunities for lads to get more and more minutes, you only have to go back to the Rotherham game when Cal and Vaughany came on and got us the goal."

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