OWEN Coyle admits the return of Grant Holt at the weekend was a massive fillip for Wigan Athletic.
Holt’s appearance against Blackburn was his first since damaging a knee against Middlesbrough on August 25.
The 32-year-old grabbed a crucial equaliser just 12 minutes after entering the fray as a second-half substitute. And Coyle says his immediate contribution shows just how much he’s been missed during his absence.
“Grant only had two training sessions in the lead-up, but such was his desire to be involved he made the bench,” the Wigan boss said.
“We felt if we could get 20-30 minutes out of the bench we’d be doing well – as it turned out it was even more than that.
“We all know he’s a goal threat, and having a player like him on the bench strikes fear into the opposition ranks.”
Holt’s absence has meant Nick Powell being thrust into service as Wigan’s lone frontman after joining on loan from Manchester United.
Powell has run himself into the ground in recent weeks, and Coyle hopes he’ll be able to rest during the international break.
“Nick was more or less forced to play on Sunday because of the injuries we have up top at the moment,” Coyle added.
“It’s been a big ask of the lad in recent weeks, and we need to be mindful of that.
“He’ll report with the England Under-21s this week, but I’d be very surprised if he’s able to play.”