Uwe Rosler believes his players have shown a determination to put their poor run behind them and grab victory against NK Maribor in the Europa League tonight.
The new Latics boss takes charge of his first game with an away trip to Slovenia for a crucial match.
Wigan need to win and hope group leaders Rubin Kazan beat Zulte Waregem in Bruges in order to qualify for the Round of 32.
“This is a great opportunity for me to see players in a competitive environment where they can impress me and impress the supporters who they owe it to after a long journey out to Slovenia,” the former Manchester City striker said.
“We have an important game as well on Sunday against Bolton Wanderers but we want to do well on Thursday first and regain some confidence after the recent run of defeats.
“I’ve seen a determination from the players in training this week to make that happen. Everyone is focused, ready to take information on board and ready to get back a winning feeling at the club.”
Speaking in his first pre-match press conference since taking charge, Rosler said he hoped his team could repay the support of around 1,000 fans who are making the journey to Slovenia.
“This is a great opportunity for me to see players in a competitive environment where they can impress me and impress the supporters who they owe it to after a long journey out to Slovenia.
“There’s been a lot of work to do in a short space of time: assessing the players, organising the travel arrangements for Thursday’s game and getting everything ready for the game itself.
“We’ve left a few players back in Wigan for different reasons, but we’ve brought out a competitive squad and there will be a few changes to the team from last Saturday.”
While Rosler is hoping for a bit of luck from Group D’s other game he believes the game against Maribor is a great opportunity to learn something about his squad and his new club.
“The whole club and the town of Wigan has clearly embraced the competition on the back of the fantastic achievement of winning the FA Cup last season,” he said.
“When I was a player I always made the most of the European competitions I was fortunate enough to play in. It’s a great opportunity for the whole club, but most importantly the players, to learn new cultures and learn to cope with different styles of football.
“We need a little bit of luck on the night because the situation is no longer in our own hands, but both teams will feel they have much to play for, both will want to progress in the competition and all we need to do is make sure we do our job.”
Winger James McClean will be absent from tonight’s game through suspension while striker Grant Holt has not travelled to Slovenia after being rested by Rosler ahead of Sunday’s Championship derby against Bolton.
Long-term absentees Shaun Maloney, Ali Al Habsi and Gary Caldwell remain on the injured list while Manchester United loanee Will Keane is ineligible.
Wigan results in Europa League 2013-14
19 September: SV Zulte Waregem 0-0 Wigan
3 October: Wigan 3-1 NK Maribor
24 October: Wigan 1-1 Rubin Kazan
7 November: Rubin Kazan 1-0 Wigan
28 November: Wigan 1-2 SV Zulte Waregem
Image courtesy of Manchester City FC via YouTube, with thanks.