Wigan Athletic’s back-to-the-wall victory at Leeds United last Good Friday didn’t just all-but secure their Championship safety.
Given the circumstances, it was also one of the most memorable matches of recent years.
Having been reduced to 10 men inside 15 minutes – unfairly so – when Cedric Kipre was adjudged to have handled the ball on the line, Latics were staring down the barrel after going an early goal down.
But not only did Gavin Massey equalise before half-time, the forward capped the performance of his life by scoring again in the second half to secure all three points.
The scenes of jubilation on the pitch and in the stands underlined what a massive day it was for the club, with Paul Cook and his staff doing jigs of delight at full-time.
But four months on, Cook doesn’t want to hear another word about it!
“I think as a manager and a player, the most important game is always your next one,” the Latics boss said.
“I’m really not a believer in looking back in this game.
“That Leeds fixture at Elland Road played a massive part in us staying in this division, which was a fantastic achievement.
“But it’s gone now as far as I’m concerned.
“The only games that count are this one and the one after.
“I just think if you start to look back and reminisce, you can get lost very easily in the moment.
“All we can do is think about Saturday, and facing a very strong Leeds team.
“We’re in for a very difficult game, but it’s one we’re very much looking forward to.”
Leeds were one of only four away sides – along with Derby, Birmingham and Sheffield United – to win at the DW last term.
And the visit of the promotion favourites should ,make for a cracking atmosphere inside the stadium.
“It’s one of the fixtures you very much look forward to, because of the massive support they take with them everywhere,” Cook acknowledged.
“They sell-out everywhere they go, and that brings an FA Cup-type atmosphere with them.
“To be fair, our fans were excellent on the opening day against Cardiff – it was one of the best I’ve felt since I’ve been here.
“But a lot of that obviously follows what goes on on the pitch.
“If you’re watching an enthralling game that’s going end to end, full of incidents, then the likelihood is they’ll go home happy.
“If you can win the game, that’s only going to help the situation!”
Cook is also not looking beyond the game, despite daunting trips ahead to Middlesbrough next Tuesday and QPR next Saturday.
“Just keep going,” he added. “The fixtures are what they are, we’re off to Middlesbrough and then QPR next week.
“On the flip side, somewhere else in the season we could have a couple of home games in quick succession.
“It is what it is, the challenges are there and are the same for everyone.
“All we can do is prepare the squad as best we can and we feel we’ve done that.”
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