CARETAKER boss Selim Benachour believes the Latics faithful will continue to support the players on the pitch despite their protests off it.

The fans were again protesting against the club’s ownership at last weekend’s 5-5 home draw with League Two leaders Forest Green Rovers.

But it did not prevent those that were in attendance at Boundary Park getting behind the team as they fought back from 4-1 down to claim a dramatic share of the spoils.

It was testament to the fighting spirit shown under Benachour and he believes those faithful fans backing his team can see the players are doing everything they can to get Latics out of the League Two drop zone.

Benachour said: “You can see the players give everything.

“What I liked today was the fans really enjoyed it.

“I see something between the fans and the players and we need to build on that and I’m sure we will turn things in our favour.

“They [the fans] protest, I know they have some problem with the owners but those who were here were unbelievable.

“When we give the right response on the pitch they will get behind us.

“It’s not possible that we play like this and they will give up, I’m sure.

“It’s good for me to send a sign out to them. We need them.

“We are seeing things change.

“We played better, we are stronger, and we need them to the end.

“It was a strange game.

“We scored, they equalised quick and then they scored two and then three.

“We showed character and personality and fighting spirit.”

It is not only the man in the dugout who recognises the importance of the Latics fanbase.

Skipper Carl Piergianni says the players are fully aware of the issues the supporters feel strongly about.

But he admits the full focus for the team has to be on getting results and moving the team up the table and away from the relegation trap door, starting with a crunch home clash on Boxing Day against fellow strugglers Scunthorpe United.

Piergianni added: “We knew it [Forest Green protest] was happening and we could see that the numbers were down.

“That’s the fans’ issue. As players we just have to get on with it and try to do our job on the pitch, and that’s all we can do really.

“It’s not something for me to deal with, my job is to try to help the players to perform on the pitch and do my job and defend well and play well in games.”