Latics boss Uwe Rosler says the experienced members of his squad will be key between now and the end of the campaign as Latics look to secure promotion from the Sky Bet Championship.
Speaking ahead of Good Friday’s visit of Reading, Rosler told Latics Player that the return of club captain Gary Caldwell as well as Shaun Maloney and Roger Espinoza, will have a positive effect in the high pressure games in the final month of the season.
Rosler will also have cup-tied pair Rob Kiernan and Martyn Waghorn back for the visit of the Royals as his side prepare for two games in the space of four days.
“It’s good for us with the players coming back; Gary (Caldwell) did very well I felt when he came on after such a long time out, to be thrown in, in a game like that, he did himself more than justice,” Rosler explained.
“What’s very good is that we have players coming back in like Rob Kiernan and Martyn Waghorn – I’m looking forward to it, the squad has to contribute to the rotation system to win football games.
“At this time of the year it’s about ability but it’s also a lot about experience to be able to handle the pressure because, for every team in this division, going into the last four or five games the pressure will be on.”
Rosler says preparations for Friday’s game with Nigel Adkins’ side have gone well with the players enjoying a couple of days off after the penalty shootout defeat to Arsenal at Wembley.
And he says that although he does have to keep Easter Monday’s visit to Burnley in mind, his immediate focus is on selecting the best team to defeat Reading at the DW Stadium on Friday.
“We’ve had a few days off and then on Wednesday we had a good training session, the preparations went fine; everybody knows the importance of the games coming up so we’re looking forward to them,” he added.
“In this league we try not to think about the upcoming games too much, we just try to play it and then move onto the next one and that’s exactly what we’re doing; we’ll prepare for Reading – I saw them on Monday night, knowing all about them and hopefully we find a plan that will work to win the game,”
“It’s necessary for us to win our two home games to make sure we cement our place in the top six but we’ll take every game as it comes; I think it’s important we select the team that gives us the best chance to win against Reading because that’s the main priority.
“Obviously as a manager you always have half an eye on the next one with it being so close together.”
Having watched the Royals on Monday evening, Rosler is fully aware of the quality the Berkshire side possess, though he feels his group of players are more than capable of finding a result against one of the early season promotion favourite.
“I think before the season they were one of the favourites to go up directly so you’re only going to be classed as one of the favourites when you have quality in your squad,” Rosler continued.
“I think that they have lots of quality with international players but we also have a very good squad at our disposal.
“The players are fit and ready to go, I think everybody wants to go back to Wembley and we’re using that defeat as motivation to go back there, to do that, we have to at least win our two home games.”