Ryan McLaughlin has admitted tonight’s game against Blackburn Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy will be a tough test for the players.
McLaughlin is fresh out of academy football having played for Premier League leaders Liverpool but he knows the standard of the academy and admits it will be a tough encounter.
He said: "The academy standard isn’t too bad. I’ve just come out of one but if you compare it to first team football then it isn’t as competitive.
“There is three points on the line tomorrow and I’m sure Blackburn have been told that.
“They will be drilled into the way first team play so I don’t think they will be mugs, they will give a good show of themselves.
“Blackburn have a good academy traditionally so it will be a tough game no matter what."
Talking personally about how he has adapted to league football, he commented: “I think first team football is a lot more physical.
“With Liverpool we had the ball a lot so we were just focusing on things with the ball but when I first came here I needed to realise the work off the ball.
“I needed to get used to be defensive minded when we didn’t have the ball and the gaffer has drilled that into me.”
Whilst the winger has taken time to settle at the club, he is now thoroughly enjoying his time with the club.
“I joined on the back of a four month injury and I didn’t have a pre-season so I was having to build a base of fitness over four to six weeks,” he admitted.
“I feel really good now, I feel fit and I’ve played a few 90 minutes so I’m enjoying myself."
The supporters have started to see the best from the 22-year-old and he believes he can only go from strength to strength.
“I like to get the ball 1v1, get around the full back and get crosses into the box,” he said. “I want to score, get assists and that’s what I want to do.
“I think the players are trying to give it a lot and I’m making myself available.
“I feel comfortable down the right with Cameron Dummigan, me and him are doing well linking up so I’m enjoying it."
Watch the full interview on Latics PlayerHD.