Blackburn Rovers boss issues Wigan warning
BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer has warned his players not to be fooled by Wigan’s lowly position in the Championship.
Owen Coyle’s men have been tipped for a title tilt but they sit in the lower half of the table going into tomorrow’s visit of Rovers.
But Bowyer believes the new-look Latics, managed by former Burnley boss Coyle, will be up among the pacesetters once they gel.
And he reckons the FA Cup holders’ first foray into Europe – Wigan were the 3-1 winners over Slovenian side Maribor on Thursday night – is not helping their league form.
Bowyer, whose resurgent side are chasing a third straight win, said: “They’ve got a top manager in Owen Coyle and, similar to ourselves, they have made a lot of changes to personnel.
“It takes time for a team to gel and to get to know other and they have the added extra of European football.
“So it’s been a tough start for them.”
Wigan recorded an historic first victory in European competition on Thursday when on-loan Manchester United starlet Nick Powell fired them to that win over Maribor.
And Bowyer believes his side’s extra fitness could be crucial – given that Wigan have had two days less to prepare for the game than Rovers, who were 1-0 winners at home to Watford on Tuesday.
He said: “People always talk about is it a good time or not a good time to play teams (who have been in Europe)?
“Winning breeds confidence so it will be two teams going into it very confident.
“We watched the highlights of the Watford game with the players and debriefed it.
“The energy levels and the work rate they went through to keep a clean sheet was phenomenal.”
And Bowyer will instruct Rovers to go all out tomorrow to make it three victories in the space of nine days – despite admitting a point at the DW Stadium would represent a good result.
“If we can get something from it will end to a very good week and we could go into the international break content with the work that we’ve done,” added the Rovers boss.
Bowyer remains hopeful captain Scott Dann will be fit to face Wigan after he tweaked his groin against Watford.
But if the centre-back misses his first league match for Rovers since January 2012 – a run of 73 consecutive league games – his place in the side will be taken by Matt Kilgallon.
Tomorrow’s clash has come too soon for Rovers’ injured quartet DJ Campbell, David Dunn, Dickson Etuhu and Adam Henley.