Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez said they cannot afford complacency as his side travels to out-of-form Sunderland on Saturday.
Sunderland have plummeted towards the bottom of the table after losing eight of their last nine games. And a win in the North East at the weekend would move Wigan, who have spent most of the season in the relegation zone, to within a point of Steve Bruce’s side.
But Martinez warned: “It’s never an easy place to go, especially at the moment with Sunderland in a difficult position.”
“They will be looking for that one win that will probably keep them in the Premier League, and that will make it a tough encounter.”
“I don’t think you can choose a right or wrong time to be playing an opponent.”
“All you can do is control the things you can control – such as your own moment of form – and I just feel that over the past eight games we’ve reached a high level.”
“We’ll have to show great composure and maturity because they’ll put us under massive pressure.”
“Playing three games in a row on the road was always going to be tough, but we played well at Chelsea and Blackpool, and we aim to do the same this weekend.”
Sunderland will be missing defender Titus Bramble on Saturday and Martinez said the former Wigan player could prove a big loss.
He added: “Titus is a really experienced defender, and any team that loses a man of his know-how would be affected.”
“As a manager you can’t really do anything about it, and hopefully he makes a speedy recovery.”
Momo Diame scored his first Wigan goal in the same fixture last season and Martinez has tipped the newly-capped Senegal international to hit the target again.
He said: “Momo has found his best form at exactly the right time.”
“Making his international debut has given him that extra degree of maturity, which can only improve him as a player.”
Wigan have no reported injury problems but defender Maynor Figueroa is suspended.
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