Sam Morsy returns to the Wigan Athletic side tonight for the visit of Plymouth with the words of Paul Cook ringing in his ear: ‘Don’t change a thing!’
The Egypt international midfielder missed the weekend defeat at Peterborough through suspension, having picked up five bookings in the first eight League One matches.
And while disappointed at being robbed of the services of his skipper, Cook admits it’s an occupational hazard given the nature of Morsy’s style of play.
“It’s hard to take the competitive streak out of any sportsman,” acknowledged Cook.
“Sammy trains like he plays, he’s competitive in training.
“I signed Sammy for Chesterfield, I know all about him, and we’ll always be on his back about that.
“Will he ever stop being like he is? Definitely not.
“Does that make him the player he is? Possibly yes.
“It’s just a case of managing that, and controlling it.
“Certainly with his bookings, I think he can be better.
“But I also think some referees do look for him nowadays – and that’s not me trying to court controversy at all.
“For example, if you’re refereeing us against Plymouth, and you know Sammy Morsy’s just been banned for five bookings, you’re already looking out for him.
“I feel a lot of Sammy’s bookings have been for the first contact in the game, and you don’t see that too often.
“I’m just looking for a bit more fairness – fair play from Sammy and fair play from referees.”
Having managed Morsy during their time together at Chesterfield, it was no surprise when Cook handed the 26-year-old the armband during the summer following the departure of last season’s leader Stephen Warnock.
“Sammy is a great professional, who gets every single thing out of his career that he can,” enthused Cook.
“He lives his life for football, he’s a very strong character in how he thinks the game should be played.
“He’s one of a number of good characters we’ve got here – and that’s been one of the most pleasing things about coming here.
“Of course it’s a boost to have Sammy back. He was a central part of the good start we had, and whenever it goes wrong you’ll always miss players like him.”