Talking football: Powell v Dack - battle of the titans!
The irresistible force against the immovable object.
Wigan Athletic against Blackburn Rovers.
Nick Powell against Bradley Dack.
While no-one would suggest either Latics or Rovers are one-man teams, the prospect of arguably the two biggest superstars in League One going head to head this weekend at Ewood Park is a mouth-watering one.
And it’s no wonder the Sky TV cameras were quick to bookmark this into the schedule.
With the greatest of respect to Shrewsbury – who have been punching above their weight all season, and currently separate the two sides in the table – this is the battle of the big guns.
Leaders Rovers are six points of ahead of third-placed Latics, who have four games in hand.
A win for either at Ewood, while not being fatal to the loser, would act as a telling blow with a quarter of the campaign remaining.
Latics have previous with Dack, who was the driving force behind Gillingham’s ultimately unsuccessful push for promotion two years ago, when Gary Caldwell’s men crossed the line first.
After scoring both goals in Gillingham’s 2-0 win at Priestfield in August of that season, he laid on an assist and hit the bar in Wigan’s last-gasp 3-2 triumph in the corresponding fixture in January.
Surprisingly he remained with the Gills at the end of the season, but was finally snapped up by Rovers 12 months later for a bargain fee of £750,000.
Dack was also the Blackburn dangerman in the 0-0 draw at the DW earlier this season when, despite the home side dominating, he twice fired inches over the bar to almost pinch the three points.
At other end, the Rovers rearguard that day managed to keep the shackles on Powell – a feat most of the defences in the third tier have found impossible.
It was something of a surprise – a very welcome one – that Latics managed to hold on to Powell in the summer, after relegation from the Championship.
A sparkling first half to the season saw plenty of interest in January – namely from Premier League Brighton – but the window closed with him still a Wigan player.
If both men stay fit, I wouldn’t back against Latics and Rovers filling the automatic promotion spots at the end of the season.
While it would be nice to finish top of the pile, as long as Latics finish in the top two, it’s job done for Paul Cook.
It’ll be interesting to see how Sunday’s game plays out, and which side will be pushing more for the win.
While a draw suits Shrewsbury, a point apiece wouldn’t be catastrophic for either Latics or Rovers.
The return of skipper Sam Morsy will hopefully tip the balance in Wigan’s favour, to offer extra protection to a defence that already boasts the best record in the country.
That rearguard will be tested to the extreme this weekend but, if they do their job again, the stage will be set for Powell – ably abetted by Will Grigg and co – to work his magic.