Stand-in manager Graham Barrow has urged wounded Wigan Athletic to beat Blackburn this weekend - and give stricken boss Warren Joyce the perfect pick-me-up.
Joyce is hoping to be present at Ewood Park ‘in some capacity’ after undergoing surgery for ‘a minor procedure which needed immediate attention’ earlier in the week.
He could do with a lucky break at the moment - and hopefully three points this weekend would be the perfect pick-me up.Graham Barrow
Barrow and first-team coach Andy Welsh have taken training in his place, with Joyce making a fleeting visit to Euxton on Thursday.
And Barrow says there is a collective determination among the players to do everything they can to aid Joyce’s recovery in the form of three precious points on Saturday.
“I’ve spoken to Warren this morning (Friday), and I can’t go into too much detail about what’s happened,” said Barrow.
“But it’s as serious as any healthy issue can be, as serious as it gets in life.
“In fairness to him, he managed to get himself into the club on Thursday, and there’s not many people who would have done that.
“That was over and beyond the call of duty if I’m honest.
“But it’s obvious that’s it’s taken quite a bit out of him.
“I can’t over-stress how serious the situation is.
“But, typical of the man, he’s making every effort to be here.
“The players were obviously very concerned when they saw him, but fact he made such a massive effort to get in showed what the club means to him.
“He could do with a lucky break at the moment - and hopefully three points this weekend would be the perfect pick-me up.”
The stakes couldn’t be much bigger at Ewood Park, with second-bottom Latics looking to leapfrog back over third-bottom Blackburn and make up some ground on the likes of Bristol City, Wolves and Burton.
But Barrow is confident Wigan’s preparations for the game have not been unduly hampered by the absence of their leader.
“We’re just taking it day to day, but we’ve been in constant contact with him, and he’s still leading it in the best way he can,” added Barrow, himself a former Latics captain and manager.
“Obviously with it being a health issue, he has himself and his family to consider first, and we’re just here to help him in any way we can.
“There’s a chance he could be at the game on Saturday in some capacity - whether that’ll be upstairs or downstairs, we don’t know - but we’ll see.
“He’s a tough character - I remember him as a player, and he was like that.
“If he can be there, he will be there.
“In the meantime we’re running the show, we’re an extension of him, and we’re getting on with it.
“Our analyst, Adam, has been sending him everything over, he’s got all the stuff on Blackburn, it’s how the modern game is these days.
“You could almost manage a club from home now if you wanted to - not that he wants to do that.”