Wigan Athletic boss Steve Bruce believes he wouldn't be at the JJB if Emile Heskey had been fit for the entire season.

"One of the reasons I'm standing here is that Chris (Hutchings) was without Emile for so long," said Bruce, who paid Liverpool £6.25m for Heskey when he was Birmingham manager and then sold him for £5.5m to Wigan two years later.

"For a club like ours, if you miss your big players it is very, very difficult to cope."

Bruce saw Heskey score again for the Latics in their 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Saturday.