Manager Richie Wellens admitted this weekend’s clash against Plymouth Argyle is the biggest of the season so far.
Latics currently sit in the relegation places but a win will steer them away from danger.
He said: “Everything changes this Saturday. Forget the performance, we need to get a result. It’s a massive game and the biggest game of the season.
“We have been in the position before and we have been in a worse position that this earlier in the season and we came through it.
“We need to make sure we get a result to get us back in that pack. There is a pack of about six or seven teams who are above us which is very close and we need to try and close the gap.
“We need to get amongst them and see what happens. We need a good points return from the next three games.”
Athletic faced the Pilgrims last month and knows they will be a tough nut to crack.
“We have played Plymouth quite recently so we are aware of their strengths and weaknesses,” he said.
“We had a terrible start down there in terms of going behind so early. They have two wide men that come off the wing and they have clever players in their team.
“Taylor is the centre forward and very good at this level and they have runners off him.
“They have their threats and they have gone on a really good run. Their manager has done a really good job of getting them out of the trouble that they were in.”