Wigan Athletic manager Warren Joyce insists his hands are being tied at the moment regarding team selection – until he gets more players back on deck.
Joyce selected by far his most attacking team since taking over as Latics boss in the huge relegation six-pointer at Rotherham on Boxing Day.
Desperately seeking a win to put pressure on the teams directly above them in the table, Joyce selected Jordi Gomez and Max Power in midfield, Yanic Wildschut and Michael Jacobs on the flanks, supporting Will Grigg and the returning Craig Davies up top.
However, it was the Millers who gained control of the game right from the off, with Latics coming in at half-time 3-0 down after a car-crash opening 45 minutes.
The visitors at least gave it a go in the second half, pulling back a couple of goals through Wildschut and Gomez.
But Joyce acknowledged it was again a case of making do and mend – as it will be until his hand is strengthened, either by the arrival of new signings in January or players returning from injury.
“You pick a team to win every game, you pick it accordingly,” he told the Evening Post.
“All the midfield players at Rotherham were attacking players...but that’s all we’ve got at the moment.
“It’s not like Rotherham was any different from any other game.
“We’ve got a series of injuries in different positions and, if you look at the cards we’ve got to pick from, it forces you to play a certain way.”
Latics were missing a whole team of first-teamers for the big relegation six-pointer in South Yorkshire.
On-loan centre-back Reece Burke is back at West Ham to have a hip problem assessed, while ex-Rotherham skipper Craig Morgan (groin) has joined long-term defensive absentees Reece James (ankle) and Donervon Daniels (knee) on the sidelines.
In midfield the situation is even worse, with David Perkins (hamstring), Shaun MacDonald (thigh), Alex Gilbey (ankle), Luke Garbutt (back) and Nick Powell (hamstring) all unavailable on Monday.
Another young West Ham loanee, Kyle Knoyle, is working his way back to full fitness after a suffering a badly-broken elbow in his first training session, while goalkeeper Adam Bogdan has returned to parent club Liverpool after knee ligament damage cut short his season-long loan deal.