Max Power on Jack Ross, Lee Cattermole and why Sunderland remind him of title-winning Wigan Athletic
Max Power was watching Netflix in bed when the phone rang.
Wigan boss Paul Cook told him a bid from Sunderland had been accepted. Power was welcome to stay, but Lee Evans and Josh Windass were on the way.
Within 10 minutes, Power was on the road and ready to sign for the Black Cats.
Barely 24 hours had passed when, after breakfast in the team hotel, Jack Ross told him in the lift that he’d be starting against Luton Town.
His performance was assured, and it was his pass that began the sweeping move that put the Black Cats in the lead.
That goal had Power purring, a sign that the attacking football which served Wigan so well in this league could be replicated in the North East.
“I’ve seen many good signs already, there’s some similarities with the Wigan side I played in last season,” he said.
“I’ve been really impressed. I like his [Ross] calmness. I like the way he wants players to express themselves, to take the ball in areas of the pitch where [there’s danger],
“I’ve played under managers who don’t like that and want it up the pitch. We played some really good stuff at Luton and we can only get better.
“I’d only been in the building 24 hours, I’ll get fitter and better. I’m really looking forward to the season. Like at Wigan, we’ve got a good passing side.
“There’s a lot of bravery on the pitch. It’s not easy to play that way, to not pump it long. That first goal, we moved it through the lines.
“In my first year at Wigan it took a bit of time to gel, so I think we’ll get stronger as the season goes on. I had a look in the treatment room when I arrived and there’s some really good players to come back, too.”
Power’s League One pedigree is impressive and he showed his qualities at Kenilworth Road.
Nevertheless, competition for places in midfield is stiff.
Ethan Robson and Dylan McGeouch are returning from injury, George Honeyman has the captain’s armband and Luke O’Nien will be pushing for a place.
Then there is Bali Mumba, the prodigy taking League One in his stride.
Despite persistent rumours of a move away, Lee Cattermole featured in the 1-1 draw and will remain part of the manager’s squad.
Should he stay, Power believes he can have a succesful season as they battle for starting spots.
“I didn’t realise how young Bali was.
“At 16 I didn’t have a hair on my body! I was just coming out of school, nowhere near the first team.
“I was really impressed with him, he’s got a really good future ahead of him.
“Lee Cattermole has bags of experience, I managed to speak to him on the coach down here, he loves the club.
“Chatting to him, I remember speaking to players at Wigan who were used to playing at a higher level, like Stephen Warnock. He’d played for Liverpool, Aston Villa, but he’d say now getting promoted with Wigan was one of his favourite seasons.
“Forget about the division, it’s nice winning football matches, and that’s what I’ve come here to do, to put smiles on fans faces and get promoted.
“Anyone knows me from Wigan knows I played in every position on the pitch.
“I was a bit of a utility man at times and sometimes that hasn’t worked in my favour.
“I’m a person who is willing to do anything for the team. I do like to get forward, although it was tough moving further forward on Saturday as you’re tiring. It’s nice doing that the other way round!
“But when I’m fully match fit, I’d like to get in the goals this season.”