Barrow calls for Powell protection

Nick Powell

Nick Powell

Graham Barrow has called on officials to put more of a protective arm around Nick Powell - and stop opponents trying to kick the Wigan Athletic star out of games.

Latics travel to Brighton this afternoon looking to spoil the Seagulls’ Premier League promotion party.

It looks as though some people are trying to put him out of the game forever

Graham Barrow

They are also desperate for points themselves to continue their battle against the drop into League One.

Four goals in the space of five days from Powell last week - against Rotherham and Barnsley - has given Latics hope that the greatest of all ‘Great Escapes’ is still on.

But after being on the receiving end of terrible challenges in each of the two games, Powell’s manager feels enough is enough - before he suffers a serious injury.

“It looks as though some people are trying to put him out of the game forever,” said Barrow.

“Because he’s coming on during games, maybe defenders are getting away with stuff.

“It’s not common in modern-day football, to see brutal challenges like he’s been on the receiving end of.

“The defenders are thinking: ‘He’s there, I’ll kick him’.

“I don’t quite get that - I thought the rules now were supposed to have sorted that out.

“You don’t want to see that in the game - somebody’s going to hurt him one of these days.

“He’s probably still sore after Thursday. We’ll have to see how he is.”

Barrow has watched on in awe as the ex-Manchester United man has returned from three months out injured to almost single-handedly drag Latics back into the relegation dogfight.

“You have to have broad shoulders to be a success in this game,” the Latics interim boss acknowledged.

“I’ve always been amazed by players who can do it at somewhere like Old Trafford.

“You have to be something special, knowing if you make a mistake there’s 75,000 people ready to moan.

“That must feel like the world’s caving in on you.

“But he just gets up and does it all again.

“He just doesn’t complicate things.

“What did he do when he came on against Barnsley on Thursday? He gets it down, he passes the ball, he moves, he closes down.

“I know you need immense talent to take set-pieces like he does, but he just doesn’t complicate the game at all.

“Some players complicate the game. He doesn’t.”