Bruce targets strong finish
Steve Bruce has challenged his Wigan players to bounce back from a series of disappointing results and finish the season with a flourish. The Latics had been in contention for a European place at the midway point of the campaign but they have shown a gradual decline since January. A top-half finish now appears unlikely but Bruce does not want his men to be complacent and has demanded a final push. Wigan still have to face defending Premier League champions Manchester United at home, but they also have games against West Brom, Stoke and Portsmouth, who are all below them in the table. "We have got three out of four (matches against teams) in the bottom half of the division and it is about time we all didn't think we were on our holidays," said Bruce. "We have to make sure the real Wigan turns up for the next month and finish off the season the way we should do. "We have taken 29 points off the bottom half of the division, which is why we were where we were for four or five months. "We did really well the back end of last season so this season has been a continuation of that and my hope is just that we finish it off. "If we finish anywhere near the top 10 then we can all go away on our holidays saying we've had a really good season by the standards Wigan set themselves." Priority Bruce accepts that just surviving in the top flight is an excellent achievement for a club of Wigan's size, although he still has ambitious plans for the future. "A club like ours has to set a priority of staying in the Premier League," he acknowledged. "We are playing in the biggest and best league in the world so to be in there next year for our fifth successive season is a remarkable achievement for a club of our stature. "We continue to try to punch above our weight but we can still keep improving. "The club will always have the ambition to try to get bigger and better. "You couldn't have said 15 years ago (when Wigan finished fourth from bottom of what is now League Two) this club would be five years in the Premier League. "It is a remarkable story where it has come from and the club will always keep their ambition so long as the chairman (Dave Whelan) is here. "He's the one who has put it on the map, financed it and got it to where it is at the moment."
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