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Return of Wilbraham can help calm second-half nerves, says Parkinson

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Phil Parkinson reckons the return of Aaron Wilbraham to full fitness can help Wanderers ease his side’s second-half nervousness.

The veteran front man came on as a late sub for Gary Madine in the 3-1 win over Barnsley, his first appearance since facing former club Bristol City at the end of September.

Wilbraham suffered a calf problem before the international break but his availability now gives Parkinson a different option from the bench which he feels can help avoid dropping points late in games.

“When we have been ahead in games and seeing them through, Aaron has been a miss for us,” said the Wanderers boss. “Gaz has been working very hard for us at the top of the pitch and Aaron has got a lot of know-how.

“You can talk about games, look at things in training but sometimes those decisions have to be taken on the pitch. Experienced lads can help see a game like that through.”

Wilbraham also scored the only goal of the game for the Under-23s last night against Birmingham City, making it six wins on the spin for David Lee's side.

Wanderers had to hold on at times against Barnsley on Saturday but did manage to extend their advantage after half time, which thrilled Parkinson.

“We don’t intentionally sit back,” he said. “Sometimes the opposition change things and go more direct – as Barnsley did and went 4-4-2 towards the end of the game – and sometimes tired legs play a part.

“I think our subs gave us a lift [on Saturday] because Armstrong looked bright, could have had a couple of goals, and Noone did some great stuff too.

“Barnsley had a lot of attacking players on the pitch, so you suspect there will be moments where you have to hang on, but I think we handled them well.”

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