Wigan Athletic boss predicts ‘interesting’ January after Nick Powell injury setback

Nick Powell
Nick Powell

Paul Cook admits he’s already looking forward to an ‘interesting’ January transfer window after Nick Powell became the latest victim of Wigan Athletic’s incredible hamstring curse.

On the day Will Grigg returned from a five-game lay-off, Powell pulled up lame with the same injury which hampered Wigan’s chances of pushing for a late winner in the goalless draw against Reading.

Forwards Gavin Massey and Michael Jacobs are already out until the New Year after undergoing hamstring surgery, with defenders Chey Dunkley and Antonee Robinson out until the festive period with knee and ankle problems respectively.

“It’s just the story of our season, with the lads and injuries,” mused Cook.

“We just keep going game to game, it is what it is.

“We try our best not to whinge about injuries, we just get on with it.

“But I think with the new ownership coming in, January could be an interesting month for us, in terms of transfer activity and also getting key personnel back.”

Grigg at least came through his 20-minute cameo off the bench unscathed, although Cook elected to send on Joe Garner to replace Powell just after the hour mark.

“We just felt eventually we would get Will Grigg on to the pitch,” explained the Latics boss.

“But to get us out a bit, we wanted to make Joe a bit of a focal point.

“Unfortunately the good crossing supply we had in the first half dried up in the second half.

“If we could maybe have had Griggy or Joe, or James Vaughan, on the end of those crosses, it might have brought us some joy.”

Star man for Latics was again on-loan Chelsea right-back Reece James, with Cook running out of plaudits to describe the 18-year-old.

“I think the lad will go on and achieve what we all believe and think he can,” added Cook.

“For me, as a manager, the biggest compliment I can pay Reece is not how good a footballer he is but how good a lad he is.

“If every young lad in football had an attitude and a temperament like he does, there’d be a lot more top players about.”

When asked about the chances of holding on to James for a second season, similar to Christian Walton’s agreement with Brighton, Cook laughed: “You never know.

“Chelsea might spend £200million in January...you never know...let’s wait and see!”