Wigan Athletic boosted by Danny Fox return
Paul Cook will be welcoming back two players to the fold when Danny Fox returns for Wigan Athletic this afternoon against Brentford.
Not only will the 33-year-old – who is fully fit after a calf problem – be a welcome addition to the playing ranks for his seasoned quality at the back.
His vast experience will also be a huge lift to a youthful rearguard that’s missed the calming presence of Charlie Mulgrew in recent weeks.
With Latics having been caught napping after the 85-minute mark in each of their last three matches – resulting in four dropped points – Cook is well aware there’s no substitute for experience to steady the ship.
“Danny’s been great since he’s been here and he has a big part to play,” recognised Cook.
“Looking at Swansea last weekend, with 92 minutes gone – and with the greatest respect to everyone – if you haven’t won in 92 minutes, what makes you think you’ll win in 93?
“At those points, you’ve got to realise that points are valuable in this league.
“And we didn’t have that experience on the field that says to the rest of the lads: ‘Look, relax, we’ve done okay in the game, we haven’t been good enough to win, but we’ll take a draw and move on’.
“Sometimes when you’re putting a team together, you’re looking for all different kinds of chemistries to get it right.
“Experience is a huge part of that...and by the way a lot of our young lads are learning on the job, and they’re doing all right while they do.”
Fox is most likely to replace Cedric Kipre, with Chey Dunkley virtually undroppable at the moment thanks to his amazing goalscoring form.
Elsewhere, Cook is expected to stick with an unchanged line-up, with Lewis Macleod continuing as the third central midfielder alongside Sam Morsy and Joe Williams.
And the Latics boss dismissed any suggestion Macleod would have added motivation against the club he left to join Latics over the summer.
“I don’t believe in any of that, I’m honest,” Cook added.
“Lewis is an excellent player, and I think his time there will be remembered fondly.
“Whether he turned down contracts, whether they were offered, that’s down to Lewis and Brentford.
“What I do know is Lewis made a lot of friends down at Brentford, and this weekend will be a special game for him.”
Forward Josh Windass is hoping to return to the matchday squad after scoring for the Development Squad against Hull on Monday.
Defender Mulgrew (hamstring) and midfielder Lee Evans (calf) remain out.