Wigan boss Roberto Martinez feels everyone at the club will have been boosted by seeing Gary Caldwell back in action on Tuesday night - although the Spaniard will continue to take a cautious approach over his captain's return to regular first-team football.
Caldwell made his first Latics appearance of the season in the 2-0 Carling Cup fourth-round victory over Swansea earlier this week, having undergone double hip surgery during the summer.
The 28-year-old defender did turn out for Scotland against the Czech Republic at the start of the month but Martinez has been careful not to rush Caldwell back into Barclays Premier League action too soon and will monitor him closely ahead of Saturday's trip to Fulham before deciding whether he should play or not.
"He is a very respected player in the squad and everyone has suffered with him while he has been out," Martinez said.
"It has been a long-term injury and a long spell away from the pitch, but he has been around the training ground. You can't keep him away from the players even when he is injured.
"He has that relationship with the players and that influence, and it was great to see him enjoying his football for 90 minutes. Now we need to make sure he is ready for the next game fully fit. It would be a big mistake to force him and push him if he is not ready."