'˜Be like Nick' - Barrow
Graham Barrow has called on his Wigan Athletic players to draw inspiration from Nick Powell and go the extra mile in the final three games that will make or break the season.
Powell was again on the mark on Monday in the 2-1 defeat at Premier League-bound Brighton.
However, his third goal in the space of nine days came too late to spark Latics into the late heroics that had previously seen off Rotherham and Barnsley.
The result leaves Barrow’s men five points adrift of safety, heading into this weekend’s do-or-die clash against mid-table Cardiff.
Another defeat could see Latics suffer the dreaded drop back into third tier, less than 12 months after the glorious scenes that accompanied the League One title triumph.
And Barrow wants his side to take the lead from the fit-again ex-Manchester United star and throw some punches before it’s too late.
“I know good players keep the game simple, but I think some of our lads would do well to have a look at Nick,” Barrow admitted.
“At one stage on Monday, he took the ball off Dan Burn, gave it him back, took it off someone else, gave it back, took it off someone else, gave it back, took it off somebody else, gave it back.
“He just made his way down the pitch, and before you know it he’s on the edge of their box.
“That’s the way to play the game. Credit to him, and you’ve just got to hope he can keep it going.”
After seeing Powell’s campaign wrecked by injury, Barrow is having to keep the shackles on his star man, who again only played the last half-hour at the Amex Stadium.
The difference he made in such a short space of time was obvious, with his consolation goal on 85 minutes almost being followed by a dramatic leveller in stoppage-time.
However, after a glorious run from halfway, Powell’s goalbound shot was deflected away by a desperate block.
“You just have those moments when you’re watching football, and it gets you off your seat,” Barrow acknowledged.
“I thought as he advanced: ‘There’s a chance here’, but it wasn’t to be.
“Let’s be honest, we just need Nick Powell fit at the top end of the pitch, and we could possibly win that game - no danger of that.”