Toney will spy chance in Grigg’s absence

Will Grigg
Will Grigg
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Latics boss Paul Cook says Ivan Toney will be disappointed striker Will Grigg is out of action – despite it handing him a place in the starting line-up.

Toney came off the bench to replace Grigg last weekend, firing in a goal in the 3-0 win over Southend, with Grigg swapping places with the 21-year-old in Tuesday’s draw at Gillingham before he left the action with a hamstring problem.

Cook revealed Grigg’s injury was not as bad as first thought - he expects the striker to be out for two to three weeks - but the manager isn’t worried about the situation.

“Will’s out for a couple of weeks. That gives us a couple of options for the top end of the pitch,” he said.

“There’s a good relationship. One of the things we highlighted this season was the importance of a squad.

“When you’ve got lads pulling for each other, it doesn’t half help. We’ve got a small squad in relation to numbers, but we’ve got a strong one.”

Despite offering different styles of play, Cook asserted the contributions of Toney and Grigg were equally valuable,

“If we were to start with Will tomorrow I’d be happy, if we start with Ivan, I’d be equally happy, so for me it’s disappointing not to have Will, but it gives Ivan chance to cement a place,” he said.

“I wouldn’t think there’s too much difference in their actual minutes on the pitch.

“They are two contrasting types of strikers but in my opinion equally effective and good.”

Toney will be taking his place in a side looking to get back to winning ways following Tuesday night’s draw.

But despite the disappointment among the squad with the result and slipping to second in the table, Latics extended their unbeaten run to five games and cemented their place in the automatic promotion places.

And Cook was satisfied with the character his side showed in fighting back from 1-0 down.

“I enjoy drawing games – it’s a weird thing to say,” he admitted.

“I think people get carried away when teams are winning. They immerse themselves in the fact you just turn up and win but it’s not like that.

There’s no easy games for anyone so to take a point from a losing position was very pleasing.”

But as the manager has asserted since the start of the season, there is still a long way to go in the 46-game campaign, and he is happy to take any points which will contribute to Latics’ end-of-season total.

“You put that towards your tally for the end of the season, count your points up and finish where you deserve, ” he said.