Derby County v Wigan Athletic: Early team news
Paul Cook has confirmed on-loan Chelsea defender Dujon Sterling will make his league debut for Wigan Athletic on Wednesday night at Derby.
The England junior international – who turns 20 on Thursday – has made only one appearance this term, in the Carabao Cup home defeat to Stoke in August.
But with Nathan Byrne having picked up his fifth yellow card of the campaign against Nottingham Forest on Sunday – triggering a one-game suspension – the door is open for Sterling to show what he can do.
“Dujon comes into the team on Wednesday, that’s how it is,” said the Latics boss.
“He’s been very patient, and people have been waiting for him to get his chance.
“It’s a big opportunity for the boy at Derby to go and have a good game.”
Sterling has been a regular for the Development Squad in recent weeks as he waited for his opportunity at first-team level – an opportunity even Cook thought would have come already.
“Nathan Byrne’s been on four bookings for at least a month,” recognised Cook.
“We thought Dujon’s progress into the team would be natural as a result of that.
“Unfortunately for Dujon, it didn’t work out like that...Nathan didn’t make a tackle for a month!
“But listen, we all want to see Dujon in the team, and he’ll get his chance now.”
Byrne becomes the second Latics player to reach five bookings this term, with skipper Sam Morsy sitting out the win over Forest after being yellow-carded at Sheffield Wednesday on October 5.
Cook now has a major selection headache, with man of the match Joe Williams and Lewis Macleod – making his first start in two months – outstanding against Forest.
“When you play the way Macleod did, I’m sure he’ll be staying in the team,” the manager admitted after the game.
Lee Evans is still absent with a calf injury which ruled him out on Sunday.
“He'll be out for 10 days, which is disappointing,” added Cook.