Warren Joyce believes Michael Jacobs can be the spark that ignites Wigan Athletic’s season ahead of tomorrow night’s trip to his former club Wolves.
Jacobs scored his first goal in almost six months at the weekend, although it wasn’t enough to prevent Latics crashing to a last-gasp 3-2 at Fulham.
But the Latics boss believes the form of Jacobs in recent weeks is cause for much optimism ahead of the run-in.
“I think Michael’s been fantastic since I’ve been at the football club,” gushed Joyce.
“He’s another one who I feel can play at a higher level.
“He’s a good footballer - he’s clever, good touch, good brain, good awareness, fit, tough, quick, can head it.
“I look at some of the players I’ve worked with at other clubs over the years...and he is a good footballer.”
Also impressive at Craven Cottage was recent striker signing Omar Bogle, who on another day would have found the net to cap his all-round performance.
“He’s definitely hit the ground running,” acknowledged Joyce.
“He’s bought into the fact he wants to be developed, he wants to get better, he wants to play at the highest level, and that was a big factor in coming to the football club.
“He’s set his stall out in the way he’s trained, and he’s shown in his two games there’s no reason why he can’t play in the Premier League if he keeps working hard.”
The travelling Latics fans were also treated to a first glimpse of on-loan Derby midfielder Jamie Hanson, who appeared off the bench in the second half to take over from david Perkins, who’d been preferred in the starting line-up to Hull loanee James Weir.
“Jamie’s been good in training, he gets up to people quick, he’s got good technique on the ball,” added Joyce.
“He did what we asked him to do when he came on.
“James Weir still needs some match minutes and training under his belt.
“That’s part of the reason you get players like him, because they haven’t been playing at the clubs they’re at.
“If they had been playing week in, week out, we wouldn’t be able to get them on loan or buy them - because they’d be out of your price bracket.
“You get players because they’re not playing or nobody wants them, and you’ve got to work hard to redevelop them and get them going again, and get them up to speed.
“It takes a week or two to do that, to get that sharpness back into their bodies.”