Barrow: I don’t talk to Nick!

Nick Powell
Nick Powell

Graham Barrow admitted he gave no instructions before sending hat-trick hero Nick Powell off the bench to save Wigan Athletic’s season against Barnsley.

Latics were dead and buried at 2-0 down - and staring League One in the face - when Powell entered the fray at the three-quarter mark

But a miraculous treble inside 11 minutes not only gave Latics their first back-to-back wins of the campaign.

Following on from his 97th-minute winner against Rotherham at the weekend, it also reduced the gap to safety to just four points, with four games still to go.

“I just just told him to get on there,” Barrow admitted of the summer signing from Manchester United, who could not have timed his return from long-term injury any more perfectly.

“I didn’t say anything to him. I don’t talk to Nick if I’m being honest!

“Obviously I had a big hand in him coming here, I get on extremely well with him.

“Sometimes as a coach you strike up a great relationship with players - I had that with (Shaun) Maloney, (James) McArthur, and Nick falls into that bracket.

“I’m 62, he’s obviously a lot younger, but we do have a connection.

“It’s almost like a father-son thing.

“If he was going out, I wouldn’t ask him what time he’s coming in.

“I don’t pander to him,l asking whether he’s fit to train, fit to play.

“If he can come out, he can. If he can’t, he can’t.

“Yesterday he wasn’t in the team shape, he just did his bit.

“I asked him how he was, he said: ‘I’m all right’.

“I told him I’d bring him on when it felt right, he said: ‘All right’.

“And that’s how simple it is with him.”

Barrow also admitted the victory was every bit as enjoyable - and significant - as the 3-2 victory over West Ham in 2011, when Latics battled back from two goals down to relegate the Hammers on the penultimate weekend, before securing their own survival on the last day at Stoke.

“It’s well up there,” Barrow acknowledged. “The obvious other one would be the West Ham one.

“But mainly because I didn’t feel we deserved to be a goal down at half-time.

“I thought we’d played reasonably well, although we found ourselves trailing.

“I wouldn’t say I thought two goals down was too much, because I still thought there was something for us in the game when Nick went on.

“I thought we could have maybe got a draw - but he went and proved me wrong and he got us the win.

“The team reacted well to be fair - and it wasn’t just him, it was the two other subs (Ryan Colclough and Jack Byrne) as well, and the lads dug in.”