Owen Coyle believes his side are ‘a coat of paint’ away from finding their top form, after another frustrating 0-0 draw on Wednesday evening, against Queens Park Rangers at the DW Stadium.
Coyle’s side had the better chances of game but didn’t quite have the cutting edge the manager has spoken of recently, hitting the woodwork for the fourth time in three games and seeing a number of opportunities narrowly miss Rob Green’s goal.
“Every time we play at the DW Stadium our standards lead us to expect picking up three points. We have to understand at the same time that on Wednesday we came up against a very good Queens Park Rangers side and after a 50-50 first half, in which we had the better chances, took control after the break.
“Again the woodwork denied us in the second half when Chris McCann found space at the back post, and the follow up from Callum McManaman went over the bar when it seemed as though the script was written for him after signing a contract extension earlier in the day.
“The result moved us up the table by a couple of places, but we’re frustrated again because three points were there for the taking and would have moved us to within touching distance of the playoff spots.
“We’re a coat of paint from everything coming together I feel; it’s been a very demanding season on the players and the club so far but everyone has been a credit to themselves and the way in which the fans got behind the team once again was magnificent.
“We know that if we keep knocking on the door it will fly open and someone will be on the end of three or four goals. There’s so much more still to come from this team, players to come back from injury and money to be spent come January.”
One player who has come in to bolster the squad is Marc Albrighton, who was handed his Latics debut against QPR and impressed Coyle with his second half display:
Coyle said: “Marc only met up with the rest of the team an hour and a half before the game, but once he settled into the game he looked a threat and was prepared to go toe-to-toe with a player of Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s quality.
“There’s no doubt how good a player he is, and once he becomes more familiar with the team, which he will do in the build-up to the Huddersfield game, the more he’ll bring to the team.”
The gaffer sees Saturday’s clash with the Terriers as the ideal opportunity for his team to get their goalscoring boots back on before next week’s trip to Kazan:
“Our aim is to pick up where we left off against QPR and show the same kind of threat going forwards in search of that one goal which I believe will lead to many more.
“There is a lot of attacking threat in the team at the moment, and as in all our games we intend to produce a very positive performance which is pleasing on the eye.
“We’ve got a trip to Kazan between our next two league games, and whilst we have every intention of keeping our European adventure alive, we also have a big opportunity to take maximum points against Huddersfield and Yeovil Town.
“It’s another busy spell coming up for us in the lead up to the next international break, but we want to maintain the unbeaten record we’ve worked hard for and give ourselves the best possible chance of breaking back into that top bracket of teams before the break, which is ultimately where we want to be on a consistent basis.”