Defender Anthony Gerrard believes tonight is one of five massive games for the football club.
Latics travel to local rivals Rochdale this evening (7.45pm kick off) and know a win will take them four points clear of the bottom four but Gerrard knows every game between now and the end of the season are big.
He said: “The fans don’t want me to say this because they want the bragging rights but every game between now and the end of the season are huge.
“There is only three points to play for but if we get the three points against Rochdale then it will galvanise us for the last four games.
“I think we would rather have a derby in the middle of the year, when I wouldn’t say there isn’t a lot to play for, but to play at such a crucial stage, it emphasises the game.
“I think we are taking 2,500 fans to Spotland and that will be a close to a sell out for our fans.”
Gerrard has always enjoyed a fierce battle with Dale forward Ian Henderson but the striker will be missing for the hosts tonight.
“He has never done much when we’ve played them and we’ve kept him relatively quiet but he is there pivotal striker and it is a bonus,” he admitted.
The skipper made his comeback from injury against Walsall last week. “I feel alright,” he said.
“I’m getting back to full fitness now. I’ve not trained in over a month, I trained the morning before the Walsall game and got told I was playing so two games in four games has been good.
“I’m not one of these pandered footballers who don’t want to play unless they are not 100%. The magical 100% doesn’t exist. You get out and do what you can for the team and the club.”