A hamstring injury to Max Power failed to take the shine off a priceless three points at Birmingham that breathed new life into Wigan Athletic’s survival bid.
The recalled midfielder hobbled off just before half-time with the visitors in charge thanks to Dan Burn’s 19th-minute goal - his first for the club.
Burn’s close-range effort, from Jamie Hanson’s corner, proved to be the difference between two struggling teams low on confidence, as Latics provided the perfect tonic for their stricken manager Warren Joyce, who was back in the dug-out after recently undergoing eye surgery.
It was also a much-needed boost to their hopes of avoiding an instant return to League One, and a pick-me-up after Saturday’s demoralising defeat at Blackburn.
“They’ve shown tonight that they can be honest and look themselves in the eye,” said Joyce.
“There’s still a long way to go and a lot of points at stake.
“No-one is giving up. After Saturday they’ve come back fighting with a good performance and a well-deserved three points.
“We are just looking to win every game. You can’t look at the table and look to keep in touch with somebody.
“You’ve just got to try to win every single game. If you look at the form table over the last 10 or 11 games, we would be in the top eight or nine.”
Latics, who remain second-bottom but now just two points from safety, have some potentially pivotal games coming up - not least Saturday’s visit of third-bottom Bristol City.
But that doesn’t faze Joyce, who was impressed by the mental strength shown by his side, and in particular 6’7 match-winner Burn.
“Dan Burn has been magnificent,” added the Latics boss. “I gave him a little bit of criticism when I first came to the club. “He was out the side because Morgs (Craig Morgan) and Bucko (Jake Buxton) looked like a good pairing.
“But he absolutely worked his socks off in training, we flogged him, and I think he looks a top centre half - as good as anyone n the league.
“It’s probably his first goal in about five seasons! You’d think he would score one or two when he’s that size!”