Championship action returns this weekend when Latics travel to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City for their first away game in just under a month.
The fixture kicks off a demanding spell for Owen Coyle’s side, who prepare to compete in three different competitions in the coming weeks with Europa League and Capital One Cup commitments to tend to as well maintain their promotion aspirations in the league.
Coyle however, is not allowing himself to become distracted with the surge in fixtures heading his way, and instead has only one game on his mind, as he explained:
“This weekend starts a run of four games in ten days in three different competitions, which we knew was coming but will of course be very demanding on the whole squad.
“It’s an old cliché but the only thing we can do is concentrate on one game at a time; we’re preparing now for Leicester and Leicester only, and once the game is finished, work starts for the Zulte Waregem game, and that’s how we’ll approach things.
“Given the unique nature of our campaign schedule we know we’re going to be behind most teams in the division in terms of games played; by the time we play Ipswich next weekend for example we’ll be two games behind the rest of the pack.
“So we can’t let league positions distract us and instead concentrate on collecting points as we go along which will get us to where we want to be at the end of the season.”
An injury suffered by Grant Holt against Middlesbrough looks as though it will force the striker to miss out once again this weekend, as Coyle welcomes back his international stars and a new face:
“The majority of the internationals boys have returned today (Thursday) and we’ll welcome back Roger Espinoza and Juan Carlos Garcia tomorrow, but the reports coming back to us have all been positive and they’ve come through those games relatively unscathed.
“The players who have remained here have all trained well including Callum McManaman who is eligible again this weekend, Nick Powell who arrived back from his time with the England Under 21 team today and Ryan Shotton who has had some good work under his belt already.
“Grant Holt will be unavailable after suffering a jarred knee against Middlesbrough, but we’ll head there with what we do have available and look forward to a very tough game.
“Leicester are a strong side who have started the season very well. They’ll have aspirations, like us, of finishing in those top spots which they were unfortunate to miss out on last season.
“There’s a lot of attacking flair in their team and we’ll give them the upmost respect as always, but at the same time we have to give everything we’ve got to offer, and if we do that we know we can go toe-to-toe with anybody in this division.”