Anthony Pilkington has given Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook a much-needed boost by proving his fitness after a month out through injury.
The Latics boss has had precious little to smile about so far this term, with Latics having signed off for the international break with only one win from seven games in all competitions.
That solitary triumph came on the opening day of the campaign against Cardiff – which was Pilkington’s only appearance for the first team before he was cut down by a quad problem.
But after responding positively to treatment, Pilkington returned to the fold yesterday for the Development Squad’s behind-closed-doors Central League Cup group stage clash against Morecambe at Euxton.
The 31-year-old scored a couple of first-half goals, and also hit the woodwork, in a comfortable 3-1 victory for Latics – in front of Cook, assistant manager Leam Richardson and first-team coach Anthony Barry.
And assuming he suffers no adverse effects to the run-out, he could come into the equation for a bench spot for Saturday’s trip to Hull City.
Cook could certainly do with as many attacking options as possible, with Latics having failed to score from open play since the opening day.
On-loan Wolves forward Bright Enobakhare also gave the boss a nudge ahead of the weekend with Wigan’s third goal from close range, after good work down the right from Olly Crankshaw.
Enobakhare had a fine all-round game in a very strong Latics line-up that was far too strong for Morecambe, who scored a consolation goal in the dying moments.
Also getting in some game-time were first-team squad members Lewis Macleod, Cedric Kipre, Kal Naismith, Dujon Sterling and Jamie Jones.
Latics now have a maximum six points from their two matches played to stand top of their Central League Cup group.