Thelo dilemma for Wigan Athletic chief
Leam Richardson has acknowledged the huge balancing act in trying to get the most out of Thelo Aasgaard - without overloading him.
The Norway junior international, who doesn't turn 19 until May, dropped to the bench at Peterborough on Saturday, where he stayed for three-quarters of the encounter.
Within four minutes of replacing Dan Gardner, Aasgaard had put Latics ahead with a wonder-goal direct from a corner that threatened to shock the League One leaders.
Unfortunately, Latics were unable to hold on, with Posh scoring twice in the last eight minutes to force what was an undeserved victory.
Aasgaard will be hammering on the door for inclusion on Tuesday night against out-of-form Charlton, with Latics looking for a win that could take them out of the relegation zone.
However, his manager will continue to assess the situation on a game-by-game basis - to avoid a repeat of the back injury that has sidelined Kyle Joseph for months.
“It’s a tough one, because we’ve seen with Kyle Joseph already this season what can happen,” acknowledged Richardson.
“If we keep asking these young lads to keep going at this tempo, at this pace, with all the travelling etc, we will end up losing them.
“In that respect you have to learn from one incident, a hard lesson with Kyle, and manage it from there.
“The frustrating thing is you want to keep picking lads who are in form.
“But if you look at Thelo’s history, even last year, he didn’t play a lot of football.
“His growth spurt came on like nobody’s business, and he is growing into a man.
“It’s something extra we have to manage - in the middle of all the other madness - and that’s something we will continue to monitor.”
Despite only being on the field for 25 minutes, Aasgaard made his presence felt, scoring the 2,500th goal since Latics became a Football League side in 1978.
“It’s a great accolade for the lad,” recognised the manager.
“And I thought we were a threat all afternoon from set-pieces, with Gavin Massey’s shot and Joe Dodoo hitting the post.
“With the effort levels and the application that went into the game, both prior to and during it, to come out on the wrong side was frustrating and disappointing.
“We didn’t really get our just rewards on Saturday, and that is hard to take.”
Richardson, though, remains adamant Latics have it in them to get themselves out of trouble between now and May.
“We’ll be all right,” he added. “I truly believe we’ll be all right.”