Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook believes the standard of the Sky Bet Championship is improving year on year.
The Latics were crowned Sky Bet League One champions back in May and currently sit 19th in the Championship, with just over half of the current season played.
Speaking ahead of their next test against Swansea City on Saturday afternoon, Cook believes the league is stronger than ever, and says his side must embrace the challenge.
“The main difference between Sky Bet League One and the Championship is obviously the quality of players first and foremost, but also you notice that mistakes get punished more quickly," he said.
“The general calibre and standard of teams is very high; so many teams are pursuing the dream of promotion, and every year this league is getting stronger. Some of the names at the bottom end of the table are big ones which might surprise people, but that’s the level of competition and that’s what makes the Championship so exciting. We have to embrace it.
“Anything can happen in this league. There are teams on good runs, some on bad runs, everyone’s next disappointment or victory is never far away. At Wigan, we’re focused on the objective we set out to achieve, and that’s to secure our status in the division."
Wigan have fared well at home in 2018/19, but have won just one game on the road so far. Cook says points are the most important thing for his team, but isn't setting any targets.
“It’s all about points for me," he added. "Home form and away form, goals scored and goals against are secondary. These days with all the stats and numbers available, data is so readily achieved, so for us it’s more about replicating our better performances. Those performances have mainly been at home and if that’s what keeps us up, so be it.
“I’m not particularly one to set targets. We want to continue playing Championship football, build a team with a process and one day challenge to reach Premier League, so small steps are important. At the minute we’re still finding our feet and within that we’ve had a lot of injuries, so managing that has been as important as managing anything else.
“You just have to keep going; the fixtures are always unforgiving and the most important thing is the next fixture. We’ve prepared for our next game and it’s one we’re looking forward to."