Owen Coyle believes Nick Powell has the potential to get even better this season, after the Manchester United loanee inspired a 2-0 win against Ipswich Town on Sunday afternoon.
Powell’s first-half corner led to Ryan Shotton opening the scoring on his home debut, before wrapping up the three points in injury time with a cool finish on his home bow, and Coyle says the best is yet to come from the 19-year-old, explaining to Latics Player:
“I thought Nick was terrific, and there’s still more to come from that lad; his fitness isn’t quite up to full speed just yet but he’s already bringing great ability to the team.
“He’s made the first goal, scored one himself and almost got another with the free kick we had worked on in training, together with his quality on the ball and movement around the pitch.
“It’s been a good weekend for Manchester United loan players, what with Jesse Lingard scoring four goals for Birmingham City on Saturday and Federico Macheda scoring for Doncaster Rovers, so I told Nick before the game to make sure he got on that scoresheet himself.”
Coyle went on to heap praise on the rest of his team who responded to a demanding game in midweek against Zulte Waregem with a battling performance that preserved their unbeaten home record so far this season:
“I couldn’t have asked any more from the players today. The group was largely made up of those who played in Belgium on Thursday night, had very little recovery and were up against an Ipswich side who had won their previous two games.
“There were periods when we had to stand up and be counted for, but Scott Carson made some outstanding saves during the game and Ipswich could probably feel unfortunate not to have come away with some kind of a result.
“The entire backline answered everything that was asked of them, and at the other end we probably should have added to our tally before Nick’s goal.
“James McClean, who was outstanding had a couple of efforts, Thomas Rogne should have scored at the back post, James McArthur had a great chance on his left foot and Chris McCann was unlucky to see his shot saved as well.
“But overall we’ve claimed three valuable points in a season when we’re going to be behind the rest of the pack in terms of games played for much of the time and dealing with the incredibly busy fixture schedule.”
The team sheet at the start of the afternoon made for interesting reading, with Ben Watson pulling on the captain’s armband in place of Emmerson Boyce who dropped to the bench, whilst Marc-Antoine Fortune and Shaun Maloney were ruled out of the squad with injuries. Coyle explained the tough decisions he had to make:
“We made that decision for the welfare of Emmerson; he’s started the last two games and although ideally he would have been rested on Thursday I thought it was important that he was captain on such a historic night for everything he’s been through with the club, so today was purely about looking after him.
“Marc-Antoine felt his hamstring tweak a little when he came off the bench on Thursday, and although he was desperate to play we gave him a late test and he confirmed that it didn’t feel quite right, but hopefully he’ll be back soon.
“As for Shaun, he’s not been right since he got back from international duties; he felt as though he tweaked his back whilst he was away and we probably saw that he wasn’t quite himself against Leicester last weekend.
“A scan revealed that something wasn’t quite right and he’ll see a specialist next week to discover the full extent of the injury.”