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Philliskirk sets goals

7 February 2013

We need seven or eight wins, says Tony

Caretaker manager Tony Philliskirk believes Latics need seven or eight victories from their remaining 16 games to ensure npower League One survival.

Philliskirk says success in the FA Cup with Budweiser has masked over the failings in the league.

He said: "Due to the euphoria of the cup run, I think the league form has in some way slipped under the radar.

"Suddenly the teams below us are starting to win games and we find ourselves in the bottom four and in trouble.

"I am under no illusions that the team needs to start picking up points quickly as we have dropped into the relegation places following Scunthorpe's win in midweek. 

"There are 16 league games left and realistically we need to win seven or eight of them to be 100-per-cent safe. Make no bones about it, they are the facts and things have to change."

Latics have nine of their remaining games at home and Philliskirk believes they could be the key to survival.

"Realistically we are not going to win all nine, but need to try and get seven or eight and then pick a few points away from home," he said.

Philliskirk added that Latics retaining their League One status is of paramount importance to the club.

"I cannot envisage what relegation would mean to the club," he continued.

And he says preparations for Saturday's home league game against MK Dons have gone well.

He continued: "Training has been good and the players have worked hard and the spirit in the group is positive.

"No player wants relegation on their CV and they know they are in a battle.

"Results are the most important thing at the moment, more than performances. If we play average and scrape a 1-0 win, I will be delighted rather than playing fantastic, people patting me on the back and we have lost 2-1."

Philliskirk, who is being assisted by Paul Gerrard and also helped by senior players Cliff Byrne and Paul Murray, added that the majority of the players at the club are the ones who have got the club into its current predicament and now they are being asking them to get out of trouble.

"It is time for our players to put their feet to the floor, get heads down, battle, fight and scrap for everything," he concluded.

Gerrard (left) and Philliskirk are pictured at this morning's press conference.

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