Roberto Martinez believes young striker Callum McManaman can help Wigan Athletic away from the English Premier League danger zone.
The Latics manager has resisted the temptation to spend out big money in the transfer market for a new forward, despite off-loading six-million-pound man Mauro Boselli to Genoa at the start of January.
That was partly because of the emergence of McManaman, who was again excellent at Bolton in the FA Cup on Saturday and is a player Martinez believes has a huge future at the club.
“He’s ready,” Martinez said.
“We’ve also got Hugo (Rodallega), Charles (N’Zogbia), Franco (di Santo), Victor (Moses) and Tom (Cleverley) at the club, so the forward line is very good here.”
“But Callum’s ready for whatever role we will give him. It’s not a case of relying on Callum to stay in the Premier League.”
“But rather than bringing in a player without any Premier League experience, to be an extra member of the squad, I feel Callum deserves that role in the squad.”
McManaman is expected to drop to the bench for Tuesday’s clash at West Brom, with both sides in desperate need of the points at the foot of the table.
Only three points separate 18th-placed Wigan and West Brom in 16th, with Latics hoping to complete a league double over the Baggies following the 1-0 victory at the DW Stadium in November.
Back will come the likes of Rodallega, N’Zogbia and goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, while James McCarthy and Di Santo will be pushing for starts after recovering from long-term injuries.
Antolin Alcaraz, however, will not be fit, although his soft tissue problem will hopefully have cleared in time to face Blackburn on Saturday.