Nick Powell absence is 'boost' for Wigan Athletic, admits Paul Cook

Paul Cook is delighted that Wigan Athletic will be playing a Nick Powell-less Stoke City tonight.
Nick PowellNick Powell
Nick Powell

But the Latics boss insists the Potters have more than enough quality in their ranks to offset the loss of the maverick forward.

Powell misses what would have been his first return to Wigan since leaving last summer after being sent off a minute from time in Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough.

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While sorry at the missed opportunity for a catch-up before the game, Cook says his absence on the field is great news for Latics.

“Listen, without a shadow of a doubt it’s a boost for us,” acknowledged Cook.

“Nick is undoubtedly a gifted player as well as a cracking lad.

“He’s scored a few big goals for Stoke this year and won them a few points.

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“I don’t want to say too much, other than he will be a big miss for any team.

“But Stoke are certainly blessed with good players other than him, and they’re the ones we’ll be concentrating on.”

Latics are hoping for a third win on the bounce since returning from lockdown.

Having taken their unbeaten run to eight matches – including six successive clean sheets – Cook says there’s been a simple recipe for success.

“It’s repetition in everything you do,” he revealed.

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People think there’s some kind of magic dust involved, when a team goes from losing matches earlier in the season to winning matches.

“We’ve just got lads now, like Kieffer (Moore) and Jamal (Lowe) , who feel good within the team.

“We’re bringing on players like Lee (Evans) and Michael (Jacobs) who are mainstay players for us.

“And most importantly, the lads have learned from their mistakes, like most people in life in most places of work.

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“When you start a job, especially when you’ve moved up a level, it can be brutal.

“The learning curve can be very steep, very tough.

“Now all of a sudden, these lads are learning on the job, and it’s great to see.”

Cook is also reluctant to look any further than tonight’s game, which kicks-off a hectic Saturday-midweek-Saturday schedule for the rest of the campaign.

“I know I’m repetitively boring with you guys (the media), but that’s what management is,” he added.

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“It’s always about the next game, and for us that’s Stoke here on Tuesday night.

“Can we go and win again?

“It’s a big, big challenge because Stoke are a very good team with some very good players.

“But that challenge is there in front of us, and we want to meet it head on.

“If we can keep winning, it would put us in a fantastic position.

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“If we don’t keep winning, then the whole picture could change.”