Fit-again Nick Powell has returned to the grass at Wigan Athletic’s training centre at Euxton - and there could be some even better news on the horizon.
The former Manchester United man will miss most of January with the hamstring injury he aggravated in November.
But being out of the spotlight during the transfer window may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
Despite Powell being out of contract at the end of the season – and now being able to speak to rival clubs regarding a Bosman free transfer in the summer – Latics manager Paul Cook doesn’t feel like he’s about to lose his prize asset.
In fact, Cook has revealed for the first time that talks have already begun with a view to extending his deal.
“I’m not going to sit here and tell you Nick Powell will definitely be staying – I don’t know,” Cook told the Wigan Observer.
“What does tomorrow bring for any of us? There’s always the element of the unknown.
“But as we speak, here and now, Nick is very happy at this football club – and he is in talks with the football club at the minute.
“Hopefully we’ll have some news on that front, because I do feel stability is what this club requires moving forwards.”
And Cook is certainly not going to be losing any sleep over the possibility of losing a player who has been described more than once as ‘the best player in the Championship’ this term.
“I don’t fear interest in Nick or anybody,” Cook insisted. “This is the football business – it is what it is.
“As everyone’s seen, a fit Nick Powell on a football pitch is a serious footballer.
“If that leads to interest from other football clubs then so be it.
“And if Nick and the football club deem that to be the right interest, then so be it.
“But we want him to stay, he likes it here, and hopefully we can sort something out.”