Wigan Athletic boss: Gaz saved me yet again!

Gary Roberts scores against Scunthorpe
Gary Roberts scores against Scunthorpe

Paul Cook toasted Gary Roberts after the veteran frontman got the Wigan Athletic boss out of trouble - and not for the first time in his career!

Roberts, 34 next weekend, was sent off the bench with seven minutes remaining against Scunthorpe, who deservedly held a 3-2 advantage.

And within four minutes, Roberts - who’s also played under Cook at Portsmouth, Chesterfield and Accrington - found the net to rescue a point for Latics.

“Gary’s got me out of that many problems over the years in my managerial career it’s untrue!” laughed the Latics boss.

“He’s got such quality, and he’s proved that whenever he’s come into the team this year.

“I told him one thing when he went on: ‘Be brave’ - because I want my players to be brave in anything they do.

“Any bad pass, any bad piece of play, gets criticism, and that’s wrong.

“As a manager you make problems for your team, and I did that today in pursuit of winning the game.

“But we’ve ended up drawing, and we’ll take that.

“If somebody had offered me 68 points at this stage of the season, after 35 games, I’d have bitten their hand off!”

Roberts, whose goal was his first of the season, is aiming to taste promotion success under Cook at an incredible third club inside five years.

And his pedigree is something Cook feels will be hugely advantageous between now and the end of the campaign.

“If you look at Gary’s career over the last 10 years, he’s ended the year in either the play-offs or winning promotion,” added Cook.

“Every club he’s been at, he’s experienced success, and the likelihood this year is that we’ll end up in at least the play-offs - and that’s not being cocky.

“Players like Gary have that inner belief and that courage that, when you need them, in big games, they produce.

“Gary has that in abundance, and hopefully there’s more to come.”