Nick Powell is ready to make a sensational ‘second’ debut for Wigan Athletic against Manchester United tomorrow, writes Paul Kendrick.
The 22-year-old forward rejoined Latics earlier this week on a three-year deal, following his release from the Old Trafford outfit.
Powell had previously spent the 2013/14 season on loan with Latics, enjoying a blistering first half to the campaign before being affected by form and fitness issues towards the end of his stay.
Despite failing to make the most of subsequent loan spells at Leicester and Hull, there was plenty of interest in Powell’s signature this summer, with Latics beating off interest from clubs in the Premier League and the Championship to get their man.
And boss Gary Caldwell says he’d have no qualms about throwing him in for a high-profile debut this weekend against his old club.
“Nick’s been working with the fitness coaches this week, and it’s possible,” Caldwell told the Evening Post. “We won’t be rushing him, it would be silly to rush him at this stage.
“The important thing is getting him up to speed and ready to show what he can do when the season starts.”
Having been team-mates at the DW three years ago, Caldwell has no doubts he can find Powell’s best form on a consistent basis.
“You have to manage everyone differently, to get the best out of them,” the Latics boss acknowledged.
“But having shared a changing room with him, I know he’s someone who works extremely hard and puts in his all.
“For a number of different reasons, it hasn’t quite worked out for him so far.
“But he’s been at one of the biggest football clubs in the world, and it’s never easy at a club like that.
“We’re looking forward to getting him back on a football field, and doing what he does best.
“And I feel he’s without doubt one of the most talented young players in the country, without doubt.
“It’s up to us now to put him in the right position on the field to get that talent out, and show it on a match day.
“I think he’s matured since he was here the last time, and I feel he’s ready now to show us how good a player he is.”