ANTOLIN Alcaraz is “nearly, nearly there” as he recovers from his injury nightmare.
The Paraguayan has not kicked a balll in anger for Latics since the Capital One Cup clash at Nottingham Forest on August 28.
He was red-carded towards the end of Wigan’s 4-1 victory for a rash lunge on Guy Moussi, which ruled him out of the Premier League draw with Stoke the following weekend.
Alcaraz then sustained a serious groin injury while on international duty that has wrecked his campaign.
But boss Roberto Martinez has revealed the 30-year-old has come through part of a specially-arranged practice match, and is on the verge of what would be a welcome return to the fold.
“We need to make sure we don’t push him now, having been so patient for so long, but he’s already played 20 minutes behind-closed-doors and he came through that fine,” Martinez said.
“From a medical point of view, he is nearly, nearly there, and will probably come back into the equation over the next couple of games. He’s back training with the group and he’s slowly adapting to the workload. It’s more a case of adaptation to work now rather than injury healing.”
Having seen Ivan Ramis and skipper Gary Caldwell rejoin the pool recently after injury, Martinez admitted the return of Alcaraz and fellow treatment-room occupants Adrian Lopez, Ryo Miyaichi and Ben Watson would prove a huge shot in the arm ahead of the run-in.
“We have had so many players missing this season that, if we can get them all back this month, they could become the most important signings anyone will make this month,” he added.
“They are players who already know the football club, already know the team, and who have been very successful here in the past.
“Ryo and Albert are coping with difficult injuries that are proving very difficult to heal, and that has been very frustrating.
“Ben is recovering very well from a long-term condition and Adrian is probably around two weeks away from being able to work with the group again.
“It was important to get Ivan and Gary back from injury without a reaction and, with the new players on board as well, all of a sudden we have extra numbers.”
l TICKETS have gone on sale for next Tuesday’s FA Cup third-round replay at Bournemouth (7.45pm).
Season-ticket holders have until close of play today to secure their spots, before the remaining allocation goes on sale tomorrow morning to registered supporters with a previous booking history.
Subject to availability, tickets will remain on sale until 4pm next Monday, with no sales on match day.