BRUCE WARNS OF "BUMPS AND BRUISES"
Steve Bruce has given a rallying call to his Wigan Athletic side as they prepare for a rough and tumble run-in to the season.
With Latics having secured their survival in the Premier League, the optimistics in the town are already surfing the net for the latest bargain flights as they dream of European tours. With only Manchester United to play in the top half of the league, what appeared the impossible could indeed be possible for the Latics.
The cliché warns us of no easy games in this league, and has taken new meaning in this cutthroat campaign. With so many still scrapping for survival at the foot of the table, many will look at Wigan`s name in the fixture list as a must-win encounter. This is if they hope to experience a rematch with the Latics next year.
There are those questioning as to whether Wigan Athletic will have the fight and the desire needed to overcome physical heavyweights like Blackburn and Bolton - the next two games. Bruce is well aware of his opponents` direct and vivacious styles, yet remains assured that his players will have no issues with mustering the passion and aggression to come out on top in the prevailing derby games.
'We know what is coming against Blackburn and Bolton, we know what to expect from a Sam Allardyce side and a Gary Megson side.
'We have to stand up and be counted and I'm confident we will be - in the past that's never been a concern of mind here.
'We have players here who are prepared to stick their head in where it hurts, and they'll have to do that again in the next few matches.
'Blackburn will be a totally different kind of game than say Arsenal was - Arsenal want to play through you in a very technical way, but against Blackburn and then Bolton the week after, it's going to be a tin hats job.
'If we're not prepared to match them, we will come unstuck.
'This season we have beaten Blackburn and Bolton - we went to Bolton at Christmas, stuck our heads in, defended manfully and didn't get intimidated or bullied.
'These are the games where my centre-backs have to be prepared to get cut or take a bump on the head.
'We're going to get bumps and bruises over the next few weeks because we're playing sides who are fighting for their lives.'
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