Cook: We’re at full strength

Paul Cook has revealed Nick Powell will be in his squad to face Fylde in the second round of the FA Cup tonight.
Paul Cook has revealed Nick Powell will be in his squad to face Fylde in the second round of the FA Cup tonight.

Paul Cook has revealed Nick Powell will be in his squad to face Fylde in the second round of the FA Cup tonight.

The fans’ favourite missed the wins over Doncaster and Rotherham after picking up a hamstring injury against Bradford last month.

But Cook is throwing the ex-Manchester United man back in the mix at the earliest opportunity as he looks to show National League minnows Fylde the same respect as he would any other opponent.

“He’s fine. He’s in the squad tomorrow night, I’ve got everyone back in,” said Cook.

“We’re fully fit. The lads have been bright all week.”

Viewers will be watching as the BBC cameras visit Mill Farm to see if Dave Challinor’s side can cause an upset, and Cook has done all he can to ensure his squad is as prepared as they would be for any other clash.

“We’ve watched them in as much detail as we can,” he said.

“We’ve probably gone through them in as much detail as we have with anyone in terms of set-up personnel, how they play.

“There is nothing I think Fylde could do that would be hidden and nothing we could do to them that would be hidden.”

Cook may have his sights fixed on guiding Latics to success in League One, but he isn’t treating tonight’s test as a distraction.

No stranger to the romance of the FA Cup from his playing days, he knows casual viewers will be hoping to witness an upset.

“I love it. You can’t help but love the FA Cup,” he said.

“I’m loving the fact we’re Friday night, we’re live on the telly, we’re going with everyone wanting us to get beaten – in a nice way– and I enjoy that.

“For Fylde it’s great for them.

“You’ll get a really 
good competitive football match.”

Elsewhere, Cook revealed Christian Walton is nearing his comeback from a broken leg, having featured for Brighton’s under-23s last month,
 and could even be in contention to face Fleetwood next week.

“He’s back with us 
now. He’s played two games behind closed doors and should be back next week,” he said.

And Shaun MacDonald is also taking more steps towards the end of his long-term injury hell.

“He’s out on the grass in his early stages. We couldn’t be in a better place,” said Cook.