SKIPPER Kevin Davies has told his team-mates to toughen up.

Wanderers are on the slide and Davies has used harsh words to try to stem the tide.

The captain says the whole team needs to lead from the front against Wigan in the FA Cup on Saturday.

After being handily-placed for an assault on European qualification a few weeks ago, the bottom has fallen out of Wanderers’ season.

A 4-0 scoreline against the champions may not in itself constitute a humiliation, but the ease with which Chelsea brushed Wanderers aside on their own ground was cause for serious concern.

It took Wanderers’ recent form to one draw and four defeats from their last five Premier League games – a run which has seen the Whites score just two goals and let in 10.

With only eight points separating Wanderers from both the relegation zone and the Europa League qualification place, the season can go either way for Owen Coyle’s men. And if it is going to be the right way, Davies says they are going to have to harden up first.

“I think the gaffer is looking for people to respond rather than feel sorry for ourselves,” he said. “We haven’t really been ourselves for a long time. The Chelsea loss was a big one.”

Davies is concerned about the atmosphere around the camp, and wants to see a big improvement at a key stage in the campaign, with Saturday’s fourth round of the FA Cup at home followed by a league trip to Wolves on Wednesday night.

“There’s a lot of disappointment around at the moment,” he said. “We have had a good chat and the next two fixtures are going to be massive. It might depend on what happens for the rest of the season.

“We want a good cup run, so we have got to win that one, and then we have got Wolves in midweek where we have got to start getting our season back on track after a dip.

“We have to make the next two games count."