Wigan Athletic face Aston Villa at the DW Stadium tomorrow (Saturday) but ahead of the game, Latics boss Roberto Martinez, is facing something of a crisis with available player to choose from.
Young stars James McCarthy and Victor Moses may be making excellent progress on their roads to recovery but they are weeks away from being anything like fit enough to return to action.
Emmerson Boyce is really struggling to shrug off his hamstring injury that he sustained against Bolton back in October, Latics longest current serving outfield player was expected to be back in action at least three weeks ago but speaking about Boycey earlier in the week Latics boss Roberto Martinez said: “Emmerson is definitely out of the Villa game”
“We thought he was close to full fitness but there is a little bit of scar tissue in the injury and we need to make sure he is 100 per cent”
“He joined the group for one session and he wasn’t feeling right, so now we need to make sure he gets back to full fitness.
“We don’t want it to develop into an injury that can stop him being 100% for the rest of the campaign.”
Both Gary Caldwell and Tom Cleverley are in a race to be fit and make the starting line up, Caldwell hasn`t featured much since last season, he had two hip operations in the summer, made a comeback against Swansea in the Carling Cup but then suffered a thigh strain in the win against West Brom and not played since.
Cleverley was thought to have fractured a rib in last weeks draw at Everton, the club feared that he was going to be sent back to Manchester United earlier than thought, but jumping the gun proved to be wrong and following a scan it was found that the young midfield man had suffered only bruising and no break, good news.
Speaking about the two Martinez said: “‘We’ll asses Gary Caldwell and Tom Cleverley up until the last minute to decide whether or not they’re able to feature, and with the rest of the absences the situation will demand a few extra percent from those who will play.”
Franco Di Santo will also be given as long as possible to prove that he has recovered from an ankle injury that was feared to be ligament damage but again it isn`t as bad as first thought, though the young Argentine striker would probably only make the bench due to his lack of game time and match fitness.
Definitely out are Hendry Thomas and Maynor Figueroa who picked up their fifth bookings of the season last weekend and so face one match bans, Thomas will be sorely missed, he`s been having a magnificent season so far, expect James McArthur to come into the starting line-up to replace the Honduras international.
Figueroa will be replaced, no doubt, by Steve Gohouri moving across the back four from right back to left back with Ronnie Stam filling in at right back.
So some tough choices for Martinez on team selection and a lot will depend upon whether Gary Caldwell and Tom Cleverley pass their fitness tests
Al-Habsi, Stam, Gohouri, Alcaraz, S. Caldwell, G. Caldwell, McArthur, Watson, Diame, N`Zogbia, Cleverley, Gomez, Rodallega, Boselli, Di Santo, Mustoe, McManaman, Pollitt, de Ridder
Aston Villa aren`t breaking any pots this season and sit just four points ahead of Latics and Villa boss Gerrard Houllier also sees players missing with injury, Luke Young, Petrov, Delph, Wiemann and Sidwell are all out injured, Stephen Ireland appears to be out of favour, but Latics old boy Emile Heskey is back playing again and should start up front for Villa tomorrow.
Friedel, Guzan, Lichaj, Beye, Warnock, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Clark, Ireland, Bannan, Pires, Albrighton, Hogg, Herd, Downing, A Young, Reo-Coker, Carew, Agbonlahor, Delfouneso, Heskey.
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