The gaffer looks ahead to Latics' final game of the 2018-19 season against Millwall on Sunday.
- iFollow Latics – Paul Cook pre-Millwall.
- Latics are unbeaten in their last four outings, with two defeats from their last nine games.
- The gaffer on the success of the academy and ending the season strongly.
“We can’t undermine the game this weekend, it looked like at one point there would be a lot to play for in the game that’s for sure. I think the dugouts will be in quite a good mood because purely both teams have achieved what they set out.
“The last two seasons Millwall have been very strong, I think their cup run this season has probably inhibited what they’ve done, but all in all I think Neil will be quite satisfied with what they’ve achieved this campaign.”
After achieving Championship safety over the Easter weekend, Cook was full of praise for his players and hopes his side can build on their impressive form of late.
“I can’t thank the players and staff enough; we have achieved a level of success this year. It’s a really tough league and we would love to finish as high as we can. We would love to beat Millwall on Sunday and if results go our way we could possibly finish above Birmingham City and that would see us finish in a really good position.”
“How can you gain success? I think that’s something everyone at the club has to try and grasp, everyone would have had a different opinion at times for sure. I think our lowest point this season for me was after the Blackburn Rovers defeat, that was a difficult night for sure.
Following their treble-winning performance against Exeter City on Tuesday evening, the gaffer was full of praise for the Under 18s and the academy on a whole for their achievements this campaign.
“They’re very good young players, there’s no doubt they’re a very talented group. I think the work they’ve done this season from the Development Squad to the Under-11s who are involved in a big tournament next week is great for the club.
“We’ve got to give these boys a platform, Charlie Jolley missed out on the bench against Birmingham but I think he will probably be the only one who will be involved this weekend and hopefully we will see him on the pitch."
“It’s great for the young lads, their families and everyone connected with the club and it helps that the first team’s success has allowed us to give the academy players a chance over the last few games."
Following being awarded the club’s player of the month for April, Cook spoke of his delight for Kal Naismith, who has been a crucial part of Latics’ success in recent weeks.
“Kal has had an outstanding month, I think his performance against Leeds United was a catalyst for that award, he’s done really well.
“He’s integrated so well into the club, he’s a popular lad and has played in a variety of positions, but its great to see him step up and work hard for the team, a massive pat on the back for Kal.”
Regarding the 2018-19 season, Cook reflected on a season of high’s and low’s for the club and stated the importance of ending the season strongly at the DW Stadium on Sunday.
“Within your lifetime of supporting your club you have plenty of highs and lows, we’ve had some amazing wins but we’ve also had some really tough days away from home but that’s part of football.
“If we can get past 50 points on Saturday and get to where we want to be, I think everyone should look back on this season with a sense of pride.
"We’ve had a difficult times with injuries, a lot of new lads coming into the building so I think the players deserve a huge amount of credit and I’m sure the fans will give them that on Sunday.”