I knew Nick would score - Barrow

Nick Powell and Rotherham goalkeeper Lewis Price
Nick Powell and Rotherham goalkeeper Lewis Price

Graham Barrow insisted he knew Nick Powell was going to score when he placed the ball down for the 96th-minute free-kick that broke Rotherham hearts and kept alive Wigan Athletic’s survival hopes.

Powell, on his return from three months out with hamstring trouble, had been sent on with 16 minutes to go and the scores locked at 2-2.

Having been involved in the remarkable sequence of events that led to Latics being awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box with seconds to go - after Rotherham goalkeeper Lewis Price somehow ended up on his back having cleared downfield - there was an inevitability about what happened next.

“When you saw the position the free-kick was given in, I knew we had the right man on the pitch who could execute the kick,” acknowledged Barrow.

“Out of the whole squad, he was the one we wanted stood over the ball at that moment in time.

“If I was a betting man, I’d probably have put some money on him scoring.

“I’d say the odds would have been 75 per cent on him scoring - I just know the quality he’s got.

“He’s a class act.”

It was the ex-Manchester United man’s first goal since the opening home game of an injury-plagued campaign, when he curled home an equally brilliant free-kick against Blackburn.

“We’ve had criticism since bringing him back to the club, but we’ve worked with him before under Uwe Rosler,” explained Barrow.

“He’s an enigma at times. But when the best manager in the country (Sir Alex Ferguson) pays £6million for you, you must have something - and he has it in abundance.

“I must admit I’ve not spoke to him for a fortnight. If I’d asked him every day if he was all right, he’d have said: ‘No, I’m not right yet’.

“I just left him alone, said ‘good morning’ every day, and the other day I just told him he would come on and do something on Saturday.

“He said: ‘Right’, and that’s the way he is. One-word answer. But I have no problem with him.

“I think he’s a Premier League player, without doubt.

“The star quality hasn’t been there all season, but that’s why we brought him to the club - that’s what he can do.

“I know the lad as well as anybody, I think I know how to treat him, and that’s the response you get when you treat him the right way.”