Wigan Athletic boss: Should I start Joe Gelhardt against Charlton or not?

Paul Cook admits he’ll think long and hard about whether to hand Joe Gelhardt his first league start for Wigan Athletic this weekend – or keep him on the bench.
Joe GelhardtJoe Gelhardt
Joe Gelhardt

Gelhardt, who only turned 17 in May, scored his first senior goal last weekend at Hull, just two minutes after coming on as a late substitute.

That inevitably started a clamour for him to be included from the start for this afternoon’s visit of Charlton, with Latics not having won since the opening day of the campaign.

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Cook has yet to make the all-important call – and accepts there are plusses and minuses to both options.

“The pros and cons of that decision are there for all to see, and I don’t have a problem with anyone who argues either viewpoint,” Cook told the Wigan Post.

“When you come off a bench at the weekend and you light up a game, as Joffy did at Hull, the reality is you will light up more football games.

“The kid’s got that talent...so to sit him on a bench for long periods, in the dark, wouldn’t be great for anybody – including us. But managing him correctly is also important.

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“He was away on international duty before the Hull game, he wasn’t asked to play for the Development Squad on Monday purely to avoid burn-out.

“We want him fresh and full of that fearless approach that he naturally has.

“For minutes on the pitch, for Joffy, I think that can be quite clearly guaranteed.

“As and when they come about, that will be important.”