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Tonight's match is massive

19 February 2013

Gerrard's view on the visit to Stevenage


Paul Gerrard, part of Latics’ caretaker management team, has described tonight’s npower League One at Stevenage as more important than their exploits in the FA Cup with Budweiser.

A win at The Lamex Stadium will move Latics out of the bottom four relegation places.

"Make no bones about it, tonight’s match is massive when you look at the league table," explained Gerrard who says it is the management team’s job to make sure the team is prepared properly.

"We have to make sure the players who go out tonight are ready for a battle and make sure we apply ourselves properly," he continued.

Latics ended a nine match run without a win in League One in their last match against MK Dons, the first in which Tony Philliskirk was caretaker manager.

Philliskirk expects it to be a good footballing match saying manager Gary Smith has changed their style since succeeding Graham Westley.

He added that Stevenage will be fancying their chances after not playing on Saturday when they ought to have been playing Latics.

"They have had a good rest before the game and will be chomping at the bit to play and will also be expecting us to be up there (on cloud nine) after Saturday," said Philliskirk.

And bearing in mind Stevenage only win promotion to the Football League in 2010, Philliskirk added what they have achieved is marvellous.

After a bright start to the season, in which Stevenage were in and around the play-off places,  Stevenage have slipped to 14th place after losing seven of their last nine league matches.

And encouragingly for Latics, Stevenage have fared better on their travels where they have picked up 26 points as opposed to 17 on home soil. They have won eight times on their league travels, including at Boundary Park.

Philliskirk also explained that with the lack of staff they have not been able to watch opponents or get detailed reports about them.

He said: "The emphasis has been about what we do, not the opposition.

"And when I have been offered help, all I have wanted to know is if they have any particular set pieces and what are their strengths.

"We have majored on ourselves which is the approach Iain Dowie had in 2002/03 when I worked with him. And to be fair the players have taken that responsibility on board.

"Sometimes you can overload the players with information about the opposition and you start worrying. If we do things right, get our organisation right and the players perform to their maximum they will give themselves every chance."

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