Wigan Athletic boss ‘won’t put Nick Powell at risk’

Nick Powell
Nick Powell

Paul Cook has promised he will not gamble with Nick Powell’s fitness – even if it means Wigan Athletic being without their star man for this week’s derbies against Blackburn and Bolton.

Powell limped off during Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Reading after tweaking a hamstring just after the hour mark.

The Latics boss refused to reveal the full extent of the damage ahead of Wednesday night’s visit of Blackburn, but did confirm any decision would be made in the best interests of the player – not the club.

“One of the things we’ve brought in over the 18 months I’ve been here is we have strong relationships with the players,” Cook said.

“And I can promise Nick will not be put on the field if there is a chance of him suffering further injury.

“I don’t believe in that, I don’t work like that. I’m not one for getting Nick Powell out there no matter what.

“If he’s not right, he won’t play – it’s as simple as that.

“I would much rather a lad miss a game or two and then be right than risk being out long term.

“We’re not at that point, where results are absolutely paramount.

“Of course we all want to win the next game, and every point is gold, but not to the point where you’re putting players at risk.”

Cook will consult the player before making a final decision.

“Nick will get a say in it, we will make the decision after hearing what he has to say,” added Cook.

“But we will make the final decision based on what will benefit the player and the long-term future of the club.”

Cook is already without Gavin Massey, Michael Jacobs and Chey Dunkley, while Antonee Robinson’s ankle injury – which looked like ruling him out for a month – is far worse than originally thought.

“Jedi’s had an operation that will rule him out for 10 weeks, Cook confirmed.

“And the reality of the situation now is we haven’t got a let-back.

“Anyone in their right mind would be able to deduce we might have to bring in a left-back as a priority.

“If there’s any unemployed left-backs out there, feel free to give us a shout!

“But this is football, and it’s about being able to manage these kinds of situations as a club.”