Brad's not bad, but Powell's in better Nick - Wigan Athletic chief!

Nick Powell against Bradley Dack '“ arguably the top two players in League One '“ is just one of the fascinating sub-plots in Sunday's top-of-the-table clash between Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

Saturday, 3rd March 2018, 7:22 pm
Updated Saturday, 3rd March 2018, 9:35 pm
Nick Powell

And while being full of admiration for the Rovers playmaker, Latics boss Paul Cook is more than happy with the hand he’s been dealt going into the big game against Tony Mowbray’s in-form outfit.

“With all due respect to both players, Blackburn fans are very happy with Bradley Dack, and I know Wigan fans are very happy with Nick Powell,” assessed Cook.

“As a manager, I’m sure I know which one I’d rather have in my team!

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“And I’m sure Tony would also rather have Dack in his team.

“All I will say is Dack is a really good player who is having an outstanding season.

“But Nick Powell is a different type of animal.

“Dack’s on his way up – without being disrespectful in any way - and he’s doing great in his own right.

“But Nick’s come from heights that other lads have never been at.

“He’s more of a ‘can we get him back to where he should be?’”

Both players have eerily similar records heading into the big game, which will be screened live on Sky Sports at 12noon.

Powell has 12 goals in 32 games this term, while Dack has 14 from 36.

Both men were also the subject of unwanted transfer interest in the recent January transfer window – with Brighton failing in a £10m bid for Powell, and Blackburn reportedly repelling a £4m offer from Cardiff for Dack.

Cook, though, is anxious not to make it all about the dangerous duo.

“In football, we all love to build games up,” the Latics boss acknowledged.

“This game, to be fair, doesn’t need any more building up – it just doesn’t.

“We’d just prefer to concentrate on the game, between two good teams full of good players – rather than him against him.”

Latics are aiming to bridge a six-point deficit on top-of-the-table Rovers, although they do have four games in hand – and Cook is not worried at all about the situation.

“Blackburn have got 11 games left, we’ve got 15,” added Cook. “If we were to win a certain amount of those games - say 10 - could anyone finish above us? I don’t think so!

“Blackburn would then have to win...whatever. But none of us knows, we’re just guessing.

“Whatever happens on Sunday, is it over? Not a prayer! Shrewsbury have also had an excellent season, they’re not going away.

“Rotherham are coming up on the rails with an unbelievable run. Do they have too much room to make up? Possibly. Can they make it up? Probably!

“As far as we’re concerned, at the start of the season, we wanted to put a points tally on the board, and be able to say: We’ve done well.

“It’s used to be around 75 for the play-offs, and 85 for automatic promotion.

“This year, with three teams involved, it could even hit 90. But we don’t know.

“It’s all a guessing game, and I’ll leave that to you guys!”