Unbeaten in their last four league outings, Wigan Athletic will be looking to maintain their good momentum, and strong home form this season, when they face Brighton & Hove Albion at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
After a two week league hiatus during the recent international break, Owen Coyle says a lot of work has been done behind the scenes at Christopher Park in preparing the players for a gruelling period of eleven games in five weeks to take Latics up to the end of December.
Coyle said: “We’ve had some really busy periods already this season, but we’re going into the most hectic of them all now with no international break between now until March.
“We need to ensure that every player is as fit and ready as possible to cope with the demands of the coming weeks as we aim to push further up the Championship and progress into the knockout phases of the Europa League.
“Obviously during the break we’ve had a number of players away on international duty, and we’ll have everyone back together from Thursday to prepare for the game against Brighton.
“Of those who stayed back and are recovering from injury, Scott Carson has begun some light training and is moving in the right direction towards a return, but this weekend will perhaps come too soon for him.
“The dressing room as a whole is looking really strong now, but I know there’s still much more to come from the team and we hope to add to those numbers before the loan deadline ends next week.
“We’ve built up some very good momentum in recent weeks, and it’s important now that we begin this stage of the season as we finished the last, by putting three points on the board.”
Latics’ impressive unbeaten home record will be on the line once again over the next week with three consecutive games to look forward to at the DW Stadium. Expecting that spell to kick off with a tough test against Brighton, Coyle hopes the players and fans can once again come together to make the DW a tough venue for the opposition.
He said: “We’ve got a period of three exciting home games in the space of a week, starting with a tough encounter against Brighton.
“They have found some very good form of late and Oscar Garcia has assembled a very good footballing side which we are well aware of, but equally they will know our threats and we’ll be doing everything in our power to maintain our excellent home form and take the three points.
“Wherever I’ve been as a manager, I’ve always prided myself and my team on having a strong home, a place which is very difficult for opposition teams to visit.
“It’s crucial to achieving our goal of Premier League promotion this season, and so far we’ve made the DW a good home.
“The fans have been tremendous and for me it’s important that we keep rewarding them for getting behind us by putting a smile on their face.”
Coyle knows better than most the rigours of a demanding season in the Championship after his exploits with Burnley in 2009/09, and says that the secret to success lies in a collective effort from everyone at the club and a game-by-game mentality:
“There’s no magical formula, it’s just down to focussing on each game as it comes, and there’s no doubt in my mind that we have a dressing room full of players who are more than capable of meeting the high demands this season will ask of us.
“We’ll have a tougher schedule than anybody else this season, and I include Premier League teams in that assessment.
“But we’re enjoying that challenge, the players are enjoying working hard to help bring success to the club and the fans have been helping them every step of the way.”