Championship - Coyle: We know it will be tough

Wigan boss Owen Coyle has stressed his side will be under no illusions about the nature of their task when they take on Zulte Waregem in Thursday evening's historic Europa League Group D clash in Bruges.

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Championship - Coyle: We know it will be tough
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Owen Coyle has no doubt Zulte Waregem will provide a considerable attacking threat

In what is the Latics' first-ever European match, Coyle's men are facing a club that finished second in the Belgian top-flight last term and who have on-loan Chelsea midfielder Thorgan Hazard - the younger brother of Blues star Eden Hazard and scorer of five goals already this season - in their ranks.

Coyle has no doubt Zulte will provide a considerable attacking threat and says his team are ready to meet it head on.

"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 - 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.

"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."

Wigan's maiden European campaign 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 - and get relegated from the Barclays Premier League.

Certainly it has made for a demanding-looking 2013-14 schedule, but Coyle, appointed as Wigan manager over the summer, has emphasised he and his players are keen to embrace the challenge of what is ahead of them.

''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.''

Coyle, whose only previous experience of European football was as a player for Airdrie in the 1992-93 Cup Winners' Cup, has expressed his pride at being in charge of Wigan for this landmark match and thinks it is vital his players do their utmost to rise to the occasion.

He said: ''Of course, there is pride in leading Wigan into Europe.

''It is a fantastic experience for everybody and it is important that you try to maximise that opportunity.''

The other teams in Group D are Russia's Rubin Kazan and Maribor of Slovenia.

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