Suspended skipper Sam Morsy could still be Wigan Athletic’s secret weapon for the FA Cup fifth-round tie against Manchester City.
Morsy will sit out the game having picked up his 10th booking of the season – triggering a two-game ban – in the dying seconds of the midweek defeat against Blackpool.
But Paul Cook says his on-field general will still form part of the preparations in the build-up to Monday night.
“The disappointment for Sam is missing out on the game, and locking horns with the calibre of player he would have been playing against,” said Cook.
“But he’ll be in the dressing room for sure, we’re very much into that.
“He’ll have a role to play off the field, just like everyone has.”
Cook added, with a huge smile: “Unfortunately you can’t kick people in the tunnel, can you?
“Pep’s had a moan about it, but I’d like to have a couple of players waiting in the tunnel to kick them...”
Morsy’s late booking has only added to the feeling of doom and gloom after back-to-back defeats that have provided a roadblock to Cook and Co.
“He’s down at the moment, as were the rest of the lads,” added the Latics boss.
“But that’s football, and I think that’s a good thing.
“I think the disappointment is half the joy of winning - because if you can’t accept the disappointment, then the enjoyment isn’t as enjoyable as it could be.
“We’ve been top of the league now for three months, all of a sudden we’re not top, and it’s up to us to show what we’re made of.”