Gillingham boss Steve Lovell admitted he was gutted to see Nick Powell remain a Wigan Athletic player - after watching another masterclass from the ex-Manchester United man.
Latics managed to keep hold of Powell on transfer deadline day despite strong interest from Premier League Brighton.
And the 23-year-old underlined his top-flight quality by securing Wigan’s 2-0 win just after the half-hour mark, after Will Grigg had opened the scoring on 10 minutes.
“I was hoping Powell would’ve gone in the week,” grimaced Lovell, whose side had arrived at the DW as the form team in the division, on the back of six wins and two draws from their last eight matches.
“He’s quality, but Paul Cook has a really good squad of players and that’s why they’re where they are.
“We’ve lost a game of football to most probably the champions of the league, but I thought we acquitted ourselves well.
“Nothing much is going to change.
“Just because we have lost a game, I won’t make five or six changes.
“Wigan are excellent, a very good side with some very good players on show.
“They deserved it on the day.”
Lovell feels the game was lost inside the opening exchanges, which saw Latics pick up where they’d left off last weekend against West Ham in the FA Cup.
“We lost it in the first 20 minutes,” mused Lovell.
“We didn’t start as brightly, but not for the want of trying.
“They were on to us quickly when we had the ball and we gave things away.
“I thought we could have given Wigan a harder game, and that’s disappointing.
“I think we played with a bit of fear, which surprises me, as we haven’t done.
“We’ve played a lot better than that recently.
“The boys gave everything effort wise.
“They were quicker on the ball. We worked hard defensively, but they closed us down very quickly and they do it very well.
“You have to give the opposition the credit they deserve.
“We didn’t get the ball in behind them at all in the first half, and I think we played into their hands.
“In the second half we caused them a lot of problems.
“We’ll take the positives and learn from it.”