Graham Barrow insists he will not be pressured into throwing man-of-the-moment Nick Powell into the Wigan Athletic starting line-up before he’s physically ready.
Powell has performed heroically off the bench in the last two matches to almost single-handedly keep alive Wigan’s survival hopes.
I would be putting his career at risk, and I’m not prepared to do thatGraham Barrow
After three months out with hamstring trouble, Powell followed up his 97th-minute free-kick winner against Rotherham last weekend with a sensational hat-trick in Thursday’s victory over Barnsley.
Six goals and six points in the space of five days have given Latics real hope heading into Monday’s trip to Premier League-bound Brighton.
But Barrow says he will resist the temptation to start Powell - whose campaign has been wrecked by injury - for the good of his career.
“I know people will be clamouring for him to start at Brighton on Monday,” Barrow acknowledged.
“But that would totally not be right.
“I would be putting his career at risk, and I’m not prepared to do that.
“We’re just going to have to be patient with him.
“All in good time, we’ll just see how he is after the weekend.
“I don’t want to give too much away in terms of team selection.
“But it wouldn’t be fair to expect 90 minutes from him at this stage.”
Barrow reckons Latics could get more from the ex-Manchester United man during a second-half cameo, when defences are tiring.
“I don’t see any point in starting him, because he’s much better when the game’s stretched,” the Latics interim boss added.
“Managers can talk all they want, but when a game gets past 60-70 minutes, tactics can go out of the window.
“It’s tit for tat - they’re sending players forward, and you’re sending players forward.
“There’s room for talented players, and Nick’s come to the fore in both games.”