Owen Coyle wants his team to replicate the levels of performance seen in the past week, when they take on Blackburn Rovers at the DW Stadium this weekend.
Latics were the better side in games against Watford and NK Maribor, harshly losing at Vicarage Road last weekend before collecting their first win in European football on Thursday night, and Coyle is delighted to see his players find more and more consistency in their displays on the pitch, saying:
“The performance (v NK Maribor) mirrored what the lads produced at Vicarage Road last weekend, and after that game we sat down and looked over how well we had performed with the intention of hitting those standards each week.
“What we need to do now is stay on the front foot and take this form into a massive derby game on Sunday against Blackburn Rovers.”
On the injury-front the Gaffer explained that whilst the game may come too soon for the return of Marc-Antoine Fortune, Grant Holt could make his return after over a month out with a knee injury:
“The long-term absentees are still that, Marc-Antoine Fortune won’t be available but should make the next game against Blackpool.
“Grant Holt has an outside chance of making the game, but that’s dependent upon his training in the lead-up to the game, which is also the case with Stephen Crainey who has had a neck injury this week.
“Callum McManaman should be good for the game; he came through an hour against Maribor having felt unwell in the week but like the rest of the team he gave everything and I couldn’t have asked for any more than that.”
On Thursday’s historic win in the Europa League, Coyle was happy that the fans, who made the atmosphere one to remember at the DW Stadium, were sent home with three points in the bag, saying:
“It was a special night, our first home European match and the fans were magnificent in creating an atmosphere that helped the players rise to the occasion.
“It’s not that long ago in the club’s history that they were struggling at the bottom of the Fourth Division, so to be here competing, and winning, on the European stage is a massive achievement and I hope the fans have gone home after the game with a smile on their face.
“We scored three goals, but in truth we probably should have scored six or seven and aside from a little spell in the second half following their goal, we were outstanding.
“There were a lot of terrific individual performances, from the likes of Nick Powell and Scott Carson, who made a wonderful save late on, but the most important aspect of the game was the team performance.
“We believed from the start that we had a good chance of qualifying from this group and although that will still be a tough achievement, nights like Thursday will help.”