Nobody expects us to to beat Doncaster
Paul Dickov admitted the pressure has eased as Latics prepare for tomorrow night’s npower League One match at Doncaster Rovers.
Latics’ manager says his side delivered in the must-win matches against Hartlepool United and Shrewsbury Town, two teams in the division’s basement zone.
Tomorrow, however, will be a totally different ball game according to Dickov as his side will be underdogs against opponents who will go joint top of the table if they triumph against Latics.
Dickov admitted the last two performances have not been pleasing to the eye saying: "They haven’t been the prettiest, but I will take winning and not playing well, but scrapping and picking up three points all day long.
"I asked them to grind out results by doing it with a lot of endeavour, attitude and desire. We know we can play a lot better but, if we have those qualities as a starting point, we will create chances and win games.
"There was a lot of pressure on us in the last two games to get results and, if anything, winning those games takes the pressure off us tomorrow. Doncaster are on a really good run and nobody will be expecting us to get anything.
"We will be able to go out and have a really good go and hopefully play some good football and with more freedom with the pressure lifted off us as we were a little nervy and apprehensive on Saturday.
"And if we can win tomorrow, it will give us a boost for Saturday.”
Looking ahead to the two fixtures against Doncaster in the space of four days, Dickov says his players must forget Saturday’s FA Cup with Budweiser, second-round tie until after tomorrow’s match.
He said: "I know a lot of people are looking ahead to Saturday, but we must concentrate on tomorrow night.
"We want to get three wins on the bounce and, if we can’t do that, three games undefeated in the league and push up the table to give more breathing space between us and the teams below us in the table.
"We have seen in a short space of time and how quickly you can get sucked into trouble and find yourself in the bottom four so we want to get as many points as quick as we can."
Dickov believes Doncaster will be one of the favourites for promotion given the experience they have in their side adding they have players who have appeared at a higher level.
He said: "They have experience as goals in the team when you look at Billy Paynter, Iain Hulme and Chris Brown as well David Cotterill scoring from midfield.
"They are a good footballing team and we know it will be tough. We have to go with the same mentality and attitude we had at Sheffield United and Crawley who were both on fantastic runs when we visited them."
Front players Brown, Paynter and Hulme have scored six, five and four goals respectively while Cotterill heads the scoring charts with seven from midfield.
Doncaster have won seven of their last nine games – six out of eight in the league – to climb from mid-table to challenging at the top.
They have struggled at home losing four times while on the road they have won seven times and lost only once in 10 league road trips, something Dickov attributes to teams shutting up shop and frustrating Rovers on their home patch.