Wigan Athletic manager Owen Coyle is demanding his team works their socks off and be ruthless when they face third place Queens Park Rangers in the Championship at the DW Stadium tonight.
The visitors suffered their first league defeat of the season at the hands of table-topping Burnley on Saturday and will be looking to get their season back on track as quickly as possible.
The Scotsman knows only too well the message victory against the high-flying Londoners would send out to their league rivals.
“Three points against QPR sends out a strong statement of intent to the rest of the division, especially with it being a game in hand,” he said.
“A win would move us right up the table and it would be a top result for us against one of the division’s best teams.
“To do that we’ve all got to be singing from the same hymn sheet, we’ll work our socks off and make sure we’ve got that ruthlessness in front of goal.”
Coyle knows his men must build on their unbeaten home record and start to progress up the league after an inconsistent start to the campaign.
“For our part we must make sure we’re constantly on the front foot and if we do that then we’ve showed already how much of a fortress we can make our home ground into,” he said.
“We’ve got four of our next five league games to play at the DW Stadium and that gives us a great chance to continue our unbeaten run at home and push on up the table.”
It has been another busy period for the FA Cup holders as they face their fourth match in 11 days and their European involvement continues to stretch Coyle’s resources to the limit.
After a defeat and a draw in their last two league games, the Latics’ boss knows perseverance will be the key to his team’s promotion push.
“Over the 46 games we’ll be where we need to be and that’s challenging to get back into the Premier League.
“The sooner we start picking up three points instead of one, the better for everyone concerned, but we’ve been in great form at the DW and we’ll go into the game in good heart.
“We’ve got to concentrate on what we do rather than QPR, we’ve got a good group of players who want to continue our unbeaten run at the DW and I’m more than convinced that we will do that.”
Latics will be without keeper Scott Carson who will be out of action for a number of weeks with a badly twisted ankle after starting every league game of the season so far up until their most recent fixture.
He will be replaced by 21-year-old stopper Lee Nicholls, who made his league debut against Charlton following the injury.
Ivan Ramis played 90 minutes in a training ground friendly match on Tuesday afternoon as he steps up his bid to return to first team action.
Shaun Maloney, Gary Caldwell and Ali Al Habsi all remain sidelined.
QPR will be without midfielder Joey Barton, who is suspended after picking up a fifth booking of the season in Saturday’s defeat at Burnley.
Andy Johnson has recovered from a hamstring problem and could feature but fellow striker Bobby Zamora (knee) is unavailable.
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