Ahead of an important clash for Wigan Athletic against Huddersfield Town, midfielder Ben Watson has moved to Watford until the end of the season.
The 29-year-old scored the winning goal in the FA Cup final for Latics in 2013 but with his contract up at the end of the season has decided to explore his options elsewhere.
Malky Mackay has admitted it was a tough decision to let a brilliant professional leave the side, but the Scotsman knows that in a relegation battle, he needs players who are 100% committed.
He said: “Ben will always be a hero at this club, and rightly so, not just for the goal in the FA Cup final, but for being a terrific professional for six years.
“However, sometimes you have to make really difficult decisions in football. I need players here who are 100% focused on helping us this season and beyond.
“We have to be realistic and do what’s best for the football club financially.”
The Latics last faced Saturday’s Championship opponents Huddersfield back in November 2013 where they won 2-1 with goals from Leon Barnett and Nick Powell.
Terriers manager Chris Powell has managed to stabilise his side after they fell into the relegation zone at the start of the season and now Wigan will hope to follow in their footsteps.
Mackay’s men have racked up a ten-game winless run at home but if they can take the momentum from last week’s comeback against Blackburn forward the players believe they can end the unwanted record.
Defender James Perch, who captained the side against Blackburn, said: “It was disappointing to go a goal down, but I think we responded well, turned it around in the second half and gave ourselves some positives to take into this game against Huddersfield.
“When we compare our reaction against Blackburn to what happened at Birmingham City the week before, we’re really happy.”
The full-back has no doubt that the Terriers will put up a good fight but conceding goals recently has only taught the Latics lessons which they hope will prove valuable in their attempt to climb out of danger.
Main image courtesy of FATV via YouTube, with thanks.