WIGAN boss Paul Cook is hoping his side drag Middlesbrough back into the Championship relegation battle when they meet at the DW Stadium tomorrow night.

Boro head to Lancashire with a seven-point advantage over their opponents, who are currently four places below them in the table.

An away win tomorrow would all but eradicate any fears of the Teessiders dropping out of the Championship this season, but a victory for Wigan would see things close up dramatically in the race to avoid finishing in the bottom three.

“If we can get a positive result against Middlesbrough, who have 36 points, it would lift us to 32,” said Cook, whose side suffered a 1-0 defeat on Teesside in August. “And all of a sudden, Middlesbrough are looking over their shoulder.

“But if Middlesbrough come to our place and get a win, it would probably put us away (from them). They’d go ten points clear of us.

“All we can do is concentrate on getting our own result, and everything else will take care of itself. We know we’re never going to go and win ten games on the bounce.

“We know we’re not going to go and conquer the world – but if we are to stay up, we have to be able to take disappointment, manage that, and come back stronger.”

Tomorrow’s game is a meeting of the two sides with the worst scoring record in the second tier, with Boro’s 32 league goals this season putting them marginally ahead of Wigan, who have managed just 29 despite the summer addition of former Barnsley striker Kieffer Moore.

“That’s probably been our biggest downfall this season,” said Cook. “Every other team is scoring more goals than us. Looking at the margins in our games, by and large it’s only been one goal.

“And Middlesbrough have suffered a little bit with the same thing, despite all their firepower. I think they’ve scored 32 league goals, three more than us, so it’s not just us who it’s happening to.

“There’s a multitude of reasons for that - it’s the creativity, it’s the crosses into the box, it’s the personnel, it’s whatever.

“The reality for us is we’ve been in the bottom three for a long time, and it’s because we’re not winning as many games as the teams above us. We’ve got to find a way of putting that right.”