Warren Joyce admits he’ll have his work cut out this weekend trying to curb the attacking talents of a young player he set on the path to stardom.
Wales international Tom Lawrence has been identified by Joyce as the biggest threat to Wigan Athletic’s hopes of getting back to winning ways this weekend against Ipswich.
And the Latics chief won’t need to watch any DVD’s to get up to speed with the 22-year-old, having worked with him at close quarters at Manchester United beforeLawrence flew the nest to further his career.
“Obviously one of our players, Tom Lawrence, has gone on to do very well for them,” Joyce acknowledged.
“I see him as a dynamic player who’s probably as big a threat as anyone in the league in that position.”
Not that Joyce feels Ipswich are a one-man show - far from it.
“The other forwards are also honest, hard-working, reliable goalscorers who do a good job for the team with or without the ball.
“Overall they’re a big strong team with cutting edges in the right areas, and I don’t see them as much weaker than some of the other big teams we’ve played in recent weeks.
“They’ve got an ingrained philosophy that they’ve had success with down there.
“We know how they’re going to play and it’s up to us to stop it, and trying to give them a problem. But they do what they do very well, and it won’t be an easy game to play in.”
Joyce admits he’s looking forward to catching up with Town boss Mick McCarthy after the game, the latest in a succession of Championship managers he’s faced with whom he goes back a long way.
“To be fair, the managers I’ve come across so far – barring Rafa Benitez – I’d say are all friends of mine that I’ve spent a lot of time with,” he revealed.
“With Mick, we’ve had players from United down there on loan, and he was a frequent visitor up here to see myself and Sir Alex (Ferguson).
“He’s still a down-to-earth, grounded block that seems unflustered against anything that comes up against him.
“He has a philosophy of being honest and working hard, and not being flustered by you pressmen!”
The Latics fans have had it tough of late, having not seen their team win or even score a goal since the 2-1 victory over Wolves on September 27.
Joyce says the players are determined to put right both wrongs, in recognition of the great support they continue to receive from the stands.
“I think they’ve been fantastic so far – both the home and away support,” he added.
“They probably won their battle with the Newcastle fans the other night, which isn’t easy in itself, and the backing we’ve had in other games has given the players a big lift.”