Coyle up for the challenge
Wigan manager Owen Coyle has emphasised he and his players are keen to embrace the challenge of contending with the club's first-ever European campaign alongside their busy domestic schedule.
- Related Content
The Latics make their continental bow on Thursday evening with their Europa League Group D opener against Belgian side Zulte Waregem in Bruges.
The foray into Europe comes in a season where they are also aiming for promotion from the Sky Bet Championship, after last term saw them both make the FA Cup final - which they won, beating Manchester City - but also get relegated from the Barclays Premier League.
Certainly it has made for a demanding-looking 2013-14, but it is a season Coyle, appointed Wigan manager over the summer, is feeling positive about.
"We might play about 60 games this year, but we knew what we were signing up for when we came into it and it is a challenge we all want to take on, both as staff and as a group of players," said Coyle, who has brought a host of new signings to the DW Stadium.
"These players are up for it and we know game by game and month by month, we will get better as we go.
"That is why I think we are set for such an exciting season."
Alongside Wigan and Zulte, the other teams in Group D are Russia's Rubin Kazan and Maribor of Slovenia.
Coyle feels all four sides will fancy their chances of making the top two to qualify for the next round, and has been keen to stress that the Latics will have a considerable task on their hands in taking on Zulte.
The hosts finished second in the Belgian top-flight last season and have midfielder Thorgan Hazard - the younger brother of Chelsea's Eden Hazard - among their ranks.
"I love good players and Zulte Waregem have a number of them," Coyle said.
"This is a very attack-minded side.
"Thorgan Hazard is an outstanding young player and whether he has an older brother or not, on his own merits, he is a terrific player and one who will have a fantastic career.
"And he is not alone - the striker Habib Habibou is a handful and the two wingers are also terrific players.
"We are under no illusions about how difficult the game will be, but we are going to look to be as attacking as we possibly can and make a real game of it."