Leam Richardson is adamant Wigan Athletic can make it a real weekend to remember for absent skipper Sam Morsy when they travel to Scunthorpe this afternoon.
While Morsy is away on international duty with Egypt – hoping to secure qualification for next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia – Latics are also in action over at Glanford Park.
Despite having the option of postponing the fixture, with Owen Evans (Wales U-21s) and Matija Sarkic (Montenegro U-21s) also away, Latics have elected to play the game without their leader.
But Richardson says there is more than enough strength in depth to overcome the loss of Morsy and keep their promotion push on track.
“Course there is – that’s why squads are there,” said Richardson, standing-in for boss Paul Cook at Friday’s press conference.
“Whoever takes the shirt from Sam will be ready physically and tactically.
“There’s always the dilemma, when you’ve got the choice to play the game or not.
“But we wanted to avoid the possibility of a backlog.
“We feel we’ve got a squad capable of going around the country and competing, and it’s a good opportunity for others to come in.”
The battle for Morsy’s shirt looks to be a two-way fight between Max Power and David Perkins, and Richardson says either would do a fine job in the engine room.
“Both of them have been around the game long enough, so they train and play and prepare well whether they’re involved or not,” Richardson recognised.
“This week’s been no different – working constantly and consistently to be the best they can be.”
The assistant boss has also revealed Morsy’s bid to achieve his goals for both club and country have the full support of everyone at Wigan.
“He’s going all-out for that, and that’s why we’ve committed ourselves to fulfilling our goals both with and without Sammy,” added Richardson.
“We’re supporting him 100 per cent with what he’s doing because, when you’ve worked with him, you see his drive and his commitment, both to his club and also his country.
“Sammy loves his football. There’s not usually a time when he’s not having a debate or an argument – which he does quite a lot !– about the game, an individual or a team.
“For him to experience a World Cup would be a dream come true, and fingers crossed he can do that.”
While Sarkic, who’s been the substitute goalkeeper in recent weeks, will be unavailable for this afternoon’s game, Evans will be back in time after jetting back from Wales Under-21s duty in Liechtenstein on Thursday night.
“Matija will still be away, so Owen will be on the bench as things stand,” explained Richardson.
“We’ll always try and prepare for ‘what if’, because in this industry you never know.
“But we were always quite confident there wouldn’t be a problem with Owen coming back and being involved, and fingers crossed he will.”