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Our season starts tomorrow

19 November 2012

Manager looks for positive reaction

Paul Dickov is looking for a positive reaction from his players in tomorrow's npower League One basement battle at Hartlepool United as they start their 33-point season.

Latics' manager has set his sights simply on survival after a recent disappointing run of form and achieving the total of 50 points which ought to guarantee their League One status.

"We have got to get to 50 points as quickly as we can. The season starts tomorrow night," he said.

Two points from a possible 15 has seen Latics slip into the relegation places as they start an important week with fixtures against struggling sides Hartlepool and Shrewsbury.

Dickov said: "The next two games are massive and are six pointers. There is no getting away from that and the minimum we are looking for is six points.

"Hartlepool also had a poor result at the weekend and their new manager (John Hughes) will be looking for a reaction in the same way as I will be from my players.

"We are all have to dig in. It is alright having good footballers but, when the chips are down, they need to show their mettle."

Dickov takes inspiration from their last visit to Hartlepool in March when, on a similar bad run, they triumphed 1-0.

"It was a very similar situation, though later in the season," he said.

Hartlepool are experiencing a torrid time as they have won only once in 18 league games, a run which recent cost Neale Cooper his job as manager.

Dickov remains furious by the way his side caved in on Saturday at Bournemouth where they suffered a 4-1 defeat.

"At half time the game had nil-nil written all over it, but to concede the four goals the way we did was criminal," he explained.

He added that his players must accept they are in a battle for survival after slipping into the relegation places.

He said: "What the group has to realise is where we are in the league table and the battle we have on our hands.

"It is alright for me coming out and saying before and after games and saying how good we are and how we want to push up the table.

"The harsh reality is that the players are here for a reason. If they were Championship players, that is where they would be playing.

"We knew deep down as a staff in the summer it was going to be a battle all season.

"May be it is my fault by trying to mask over things and trying to be positive all the time as I am not happy with that and want to push up the table."

Dickov added it may also be a case of changing the mentality of the players.

"I touched on that after the Bournemouth game and it may be a case of stopping the players believe they are better than they are and stop talking about how good they are as a team, playing at a higher level and pushing no towards the top six," he continued.

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