Power fears allayed for Wigan Athletic
Max Power looks to have been cleared of serious injury after his emotional return to Tranmere lasted only 15 minutes as Wigan Athletic kicked-off their pre-season programme with a 2-1 victory.
In the absence of Sam Morsy and Dan Burn, the ex-Tranmere skipper was given the captain’s armband for his first return to Prenton Park since joining Latics in 2015, but his afternoon was ruined after receiving a stray knee to the lower back in the opening skirmishes.
Power was quickly replaced by Shaun MacDonald, coming on to the field for the first time in 15 months after recovering from a badly-broken leg.
And first-team coach Anthony Barry, sent out for media duties by Paul Cook, revealed the concern over Power is not high.
“We think it’s just a knock on the back for Max, nothing too serious,” he said.
“It’s obviously rough for him, because it’s nice to go back to his former club, as captain, which was important for us to give him.
“It’s a disappointment he didn’t enjoy the day as much as we would have liked, but he’ll have many more great memories to come.”
Latics were already a goal up when Power departed, thanks to Will Grigg’s penalty, after the striker himself was fouled in the box with only 40 seconds gone.
Substitute Jamie Walker made it 2-0 at the beginning of the second half, with James Norwood pulling one back for Tranmere with three minutes remaining.
“It was a good run-out, great to be back in a stadium environment, everything we expected from the game, and a nice win,” added Barry.
“Obviously you want to come out injury-free, but you’re always going to get that competitive edge at places like this and it’s not a bad thing.”
The travelling contingent from Wigan were treated to a first sight of England junior star Joe Gelhardt off the bench, along with the likes of Tylor Golden and goalkeeper Dan Lavercombe.
Gelhardt almost scored within second of his introduction, after being played in by Chey Dunkley, but saw his shot clear the bar by some distance.
Barry, however, believes it was all part of the learning process.
“We can’t get too excited but it’s great to give the kids a taste of first-team football,” he acknowledged.
“They need to see the level they need to get to, so when they go back down they can appreciate the amount of work we’re looking for them to put in.
“The thing about kids is they play fearlessly, they don’t respect names, and both Tylor and Joe had good chances to get on the scoresheet.
“Joe especially would have expected to convert that one, and certainly within his own age group I’m sure he would have done.
“But it’s about managing those nerves when you do get on to the first-team scene, and it won’t have done him any harm whatsoever.”