Paul Cook has hailed Noel Hunt as an unsung hero of Wigan Athletic’s assault on two fronts this season.
The 35-year-old frontman has been a largely peripheral character since following Cook up from Portsmouth last summer.
All but one of his dozen appearances for Latics have come off the bench, with his seven league appearances totalling just 16 minutes
But he was required to play most of the second half against Bournemouth in midweek, after striker Will Grigg pulled up lame.
And he ran his blood to water to help the League One leaders shock the Premier League outfit.
“Noel Hunt wasn’t even in the 18 last weekend, but his attitude is just fantastic,” enthused boss Cook.
“All young lads making their way in the game should look at him, and learn from the way he acts.
“A massive pat on the back for Noel, and he proved again what a big presence he is for us.”
Hunt’s 39-minute appearance might have been even longer, had Grigg not managed to soldier on having picked up the initial injury in the first quarter.
“Noel was panicking when Will Grigg went down early on,” revealed Cook.
“He didn’t think he had any chance of lasting the rest of the game!”
Cook is hopeful Grigg will be fit for this weekend’s trip to Peterborough, believing Latics managed to get the striker off before he suffered serious injury.
“Will got a dead leg in the first half and carried on,” said Cook. “But he didn’t feel he was moving well in the second half.
“That was a lot more precautionary than anything else. He’ll be fine.”
Cook reported no other injury worries from the win, which sets up a fourth-round tie against West Ham on Saturday week.
Tickets are already on sale for the game at the DW.