Maamria eyeing cup upset

Reporter: Simon Smedley
Date published: 28 November 2019

Latics boss Dino Maamria has worked hard this week to drum into his players just how important an FA Cup second round win against League One Burton Albion will be this weekend.

The Brewers will arrive at Boundary Park in decent form - they won 2-1 at Sunderland in midweek - but Maamria has seemingly covered every base with his preparations.

A win on Saturday of course, and Latics will be in the hat for the third round when a plum tie against one of the Premier League giants could be the prize.

Talking about his young and diverse squad ahead of Saturday's crunch cup clash, Maamria said: "I've been keen to emphasise just how important Saturday's game is to everyone in the squad.

"A cup run could be absolutely vital for this club.

"Some of the lads are aware of the rich history of the club, some aren't.

"We've been improving in all areas, though, so we're confident.

"It's a winner takes all tie, and we'll be ready physically and mentally to cause an upset.

"That's the main focus for us going into the game."

The Brewers are currently in 14th in the League One table, and Maamria was at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday checking them out.

"They've been together for three or four years under Nigel Clough now," added the Latics manager.

"That continuity is always a good thing for any squad or team.

"No doubt it will be a difficult game for us, but we've focused on ourselves and we'll be ready.

"We got lucky getting a home draw, but the pressure will still be on Burton to come at us and not be on the wrong end of a cup shock."

Latics will also head into the FA Cup clash in decent form, having lost just once in their last six games in all competitions.

"We're not getting carried away just yet," added Maamria.

"We're still lacking in certain areas, but the mood around the camp is very positive right now.

"Everyone can see the strides we're making, maybe small steps, but physically we're getting fitter with each game and that was evident when we played Newport (a 1-0 win), Northampton (a 2-2 draw), Port Vale (a 0-0 draw) and Gateshead (a 2-1 win).

"The resilience and the mentality has changed here and we're now sucking in the pressure as opposed to actually being under pressure.

"Physically and mentally the players are taking things on baord."

There are one or two players carrying minor knocks, but Maamria should have a near full-strength squad to choose from on Saturday.

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