Alex Gilbey will benefit hugely from a successful trip to the Fylde coast after his goal - and crucial penalty in the shoot-out - helped Wigan Athletic see off Blackpool in the Checkatrade Trophy.
That’s the verdict of first-team Anthony Barry, who conducted post-match media duties on behalf of Paul Cook, whose men continued their impressive start to the campaign with a spot-kick triumph after a disappointing game ended 1-1.
“It was a great finish from Alex,” enthused Barry. “He’s had a lot of attempts on goal this season, and he’s had a tough time of it lately.
“We were happy to see him get on the scoresheet - and score the penalty at the end - and it’ll be very good for his confidence.
“All in all it was a good night’s work for the club.
“There were a lot of academy kids out there, which was important, and the performances of both the younger and the more senior lads was very good.
“The players were an absolute credit to themselves.”
Gilbey, at 22, was one of the senior heads in a Wigan squad that contained nine academy graduates.
One of them, 16-year-old Spaniard Victor Maffeo, made a sizzling debut off the bench, and held his nerve at the end to convert his spot-kick.
“That’s what this competition is built for - the lads from the academy need to see a pathway into the first team,” added Barry.
“Young Victor came on and did great, I’m sure he’ll get all the plaudits, but the other lads also did them selves proud.
“We should have won the game - we certainly did enough to win the game in 90 minutes.
“I thought we lacked a bit of concentration in the closing minutes - whether that’s due to a little bit of fatigue, because some of the lads haven’t played that many minutes, I don’t know.
“But it’s about game management in the moments that really matter, and it’s something we need to work on.”
Barry also saw the funny side of the all-new ABBA-style penalty shoot-out, which he admits was confusing to view from the technical area.
“The format was a bit complicated to be honest, with us watching on the sidelines,” he smiled.
“Once it got to sudden death we didn’t really know what was going to happen next!
“But the most important thing was the lads to win the game.
“The club’s on a good roll at the moment, there’s a good momentum about the place, and nights like this keep that going.”