JORDY Hiwula turned 21 yesterday – and believes Wigan Athletic’s current striker shortage will help him come of age on the field.
Hiwula was the last man standing at the weekend after injury robbed Gary Caldwell of the services of Will Grigg, Craig Davies and Haris Vuckic – as well as long-term absentee Grant Holt – for the game against Fleetwood.
The on-loan Huddersfield man put in a sterling shift up top before his late substitution, and says he’s ready to fulfil the thankless task of ploughing the lone furrow for as long as his team needs him.
“It’s a tough role, especially in this team, but I felt I worked hard and gave a lot to the team,” Hiwula told the Evening Post. “I slept very well on Saturday night anyway!
“I was just very happy to start the game, I thought I played well and I contributed to the performance.
“I was unfortunate with a couple of the chances that came my way, but hopefully next time I’ll put them away.”
Hiwula’s hoping his performances will give Caldwell a real headache when the rest of the frontline is fit again.
“I want to start as many games as possible – and when the others come back I still want to be fighting for the shirt up front,” added Hiwula, whose first Latics goal was the dramatic winner at Chesterfield earlier this month.
“I think I’m ready for the all responsibility that goes with that.”
Latics got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Fleetwood that Hiwula reckons was far more convincing than the scoreline suggests.
“I thought the boys worked really hard and it was a great three points,” the ex-Manchester City junior acknowledged. “It got a bit iffy in the last 10-15 minutes after they scored, but we managed to grind out the win and get through it.
“And it was important to keep the home form going.
“You need to be a force on home soil, be hard to beat, and I thought that was the case on Saturday.
“You can’t be getting beat at home. You need to be going into every game knowing you’re going to win. Hopefully we can kick on from this and pick up some more wins.”
Striker Holt will today hope to complete 90 minutes for the first time in nine months when Wigan’s Development Squad entertains Port Vale (kick-off 2pm).
Holt has gradually been upping his game-time for Peter Atherton’s men as he recovers from a serious knee injury.
After playing 75 minutes against Vale last week, Holt will hope to complete the return fixture at Christopher Park – and give Gary Caldwell a timely boost in the process.
Meanwhile, defender Jonjoe Kenny has returned to Everton after completing his two-month loan with Latics.
He played for the Toffees’ Development Squad against Manchester United at Leigh Sports Village last night.