David Perkins is back from injury to give Wigan Athletic a timely boost ahead of this afternoon’s visit of Fulham.
The 34-year-old has missed the last four games – a quartet of damaging defeats – and his return from a hamstring problem will be a massive lift, according to boss Gary Caldwell.
“David trained on Wednesday, and again on Thursday, and he will be available,” revealed Caldwell.
“He’s an important player – not just on the park but also off the park.
“When you have a training session and he’s involved, the intensity automatically goes up.
“His enthusiasm rubs off on other people, and he just brings the whole thing up a notch. He has been badly missed because of that.”
Caldwell has been counting the days to welcome back last season’s player of the year could not come at a better time, who’s been a revelation since his low-key arrival from Blackpool in the summer of 2015.
“I think we all knew he was a character who could come in and affect the club,” Caldwell acknowledged.
“But his performances have probably exceeded all of our expectations. And in terms of his standards, in and around the place, he’s very infectious, he’s good for morale and he gets people going.”
The only downside with Perkins is his age, with Caldwell admitting he’d love to be able to wipe a decade off the player’s body-clock.
“I think we could all do with that – it would be great to be 24 again!” the Latics chief smiled.
“And I’m sure he’d like that, because he’s come into the best part of his career in the latter stages, and that happens with some players.
“With experience comes understanding of the game, and I think you can see that with him.
“He’s developed as a player over the years and he’s got a far greater understanding of the game than he had at 24.
“He still has great fitness and energy levels to be able to still perform at a high level.”
Caldwell is waiting to hear the full extend of Nick Powell’s groin problem while captain Craig Morgan (hamstring) will return to training ‘some time next week’.