Dan Burn’s show of support for his team-mates at the weekend has been put forward as a key reason why things are going so well for Wigan Athletic at present.
Burn, named club captain over the summer alongside team captain Sam Morsy, was suspended for the trip to Rotherham after reaching five bookings for the season.
Rather than take advantage of a day off, he elected to travel to South Yorkshire with the rest of the squad, and even joined in the celebrations at the end in front of the jubilant away end after the 3-1 victory.
And that, according to first-team coach Anthony Barry, sums up the spirit and togetherness that is behind Wigan’s ascent to the summit of League One.
“Dan came with us off his own back to show his support for the lads,” Barry told the Wigan Post.
“That shows how good good the spirit is inside the dressing room.
“They all get on so well, they’re a great set of lads, there’s no problems in there whatsoever.
“They all enjoy working together and training together, and I think that shows out there on the pitch.”
Burn’s stand-in, Alex Bruce, underlined the strength in depth in the squad by making the most of a rare outing.
Not only did Bruce, alongside Chey Dunkley, successfully shut-out Kieffer Moore – the division’s top scorer with 13 – he also popped up at the other end with a brilliant overhead kick to put Latics back in front.
“I think that shows the importance of our squad,” recognised Barry.
“You miss a player like Dan, and you’ve got somebody like Alex waiting to come in, who was immaculate.
“He showed class, composure, and why he’s played at the highest level throughout his career.”
The win at Rotherham, coupled with Shrewsbury’s 1-0 home defeat to Bradford, sent Latics back to the top of the table after 19 matches.
“That’s always the challenge – to stay there,” added Barry.
“Rotherham was great, but it was only one game...it’s a cliche, but it’s another game ticked off.”