Warren Joyce believes Yanic Wildschut’s immediate return to Wigan on Tuesday night will be tougher for him than his old club.
A week has passed since the Dutchman completed his £7million move from Latics to Norwich, the day after handing in a transfer request.
While Joyce remains fully focused on the game, and getting Latics back to winning ways, he clearly wishes things had ended differently.
“You are disappointed, because you’re coming in to a club (as manager), and the objective is to stay in the league this year, and to grow the club and grow the players,” Joyce acknowledged.
“You were already seeing part of that happening with Yanic’s development.
“He certainly worked hard on the things we asked him to, and there was a good consistency and good improvement.
“You don’t know how far that might have gone – and that’s the thing for me.
“With experience of working with young players, you don’t know how much and how quickly that would have progressed, working on his consistency and his final ball.
“You don’t know whether he could have progressed to playing Premier League football – and you’ll never know now because he’s gone to another club.
“It’s for him to decide his future now.”
While all eyes will inevitably be on Wildschut, Joyce says that could end up working in Wigan’s favour.
“I think it’ll be a bit more difficult for him than us, with the fact it’s not been long since he was fighting in our corner and trying to help us in our situation,” the Latics boss recognised.
“It’ll be a difficult game for him mentally, to come into a situation like this. I think all the pressure will be on him.
“As far as we’re concerned, we know what his strengths are, and we’ve got to set out to stop him – and do our thing at the other end to hurt them.
“You know what he’s good at, and you know he’s got talent and pace.
“Obviously the lads will have trained and played against him, and they’ll have an idea of how to stop him.”
Joyce also denied the windfall from the Wildschut sale was necessary for his deadline-day signing spree, which saw him land eight new-boys.
“To be fair, the numbers we got on deadline day, were done by the lads who’d already gone out – Nathan (Byrne), Craig (Davies), Alfie (Le Fondre) and Jordi (Gomez),” he added.
“Those departures released the money to bring in the players we did. The Yanic money didn’t really make any difference, it was late in the day.
“The players were already coming in, it wasn’t really a factor.
“The only one that was probably affected was bringing in Omar Bogle late on.”