Caldwell faces anxious wait on Gilbey

Alex Gilbey
Alex Gilbey

Gary Caldwell’s injury headache is showing no signs of easing after Saturday’s draw with Fulham.

Alex Gilbey could be about to join the lengthy list of absentees after being stretchered off in the 29th minute of the 0-0 stalemate at the DW Stadium, being replaced by transfer deadline day addition Adam Le Fondre, who made his home debut.

And Caldwell admits the extent of Gilbey’s injury is not yet clear.

“It seems anyone who plays full-back picks up an injury and we have to adapt but we can’t complain - that’s football,” he said.

“There’s a number of things it could be. He’s gone for the necessary scans and x-rays to find the full extent of the damage.

“Hopefully it’s something he can be back in a few weeks rather than a few months.”

The manager is already without long-term absentees Reece James (ankle), Andy Kellett (knee), Kyle Knoyle (elbow) and Donervon Daniels (knee), and as Latics look to climb out of the bottom three, starting with this coming Friday’s trip to Preston North End, he hopes Gilbey’s injury won’t keep him out for too long.

“We have to get on with it and fingers crossed it isn’t as serious as we expect,” he said.

Preston were handed a 5-0 drubbing against Brentford on Saturday, and Caldwell thinks Latics are primed to strike given the way they are playing.

He said: “I think we’re in a good vein of form while results haven’t been good, we’re not playing like a team that only has one win from the last five games.

“So we’ll go into it full of confidence, playing our way and get our season up and running.”

One strong performance in particular on Saturday came from new captain Stephen Warnock.

The ex-England international took the captain’s armband from Morgan, and Caldwell explained the reasoning behind the switch.

“I felt he was someone, with his experience and the level he’s played at that he could lead the boys forward,” he said.

“Nothing against Craig, he’s done a fantastic job last season and he’s still very much part of the group but I felt with Stephen and Jake (Buxton) being the vice captain we had two players who knew the players really well and can take us forward.”

Caldwell did welcome back David Perkins and Nick Powell from injury and take-up their places on the bench on Saturday, with Powell coming on to impress in the second half, almost putting away a chance which would have sealed all three points for the home side.

But as far as his other absentees go, the manager confirmed he isn’t expecting anyone back for Friday’s trip to Deepdale.

A win there would see Latics leapfrog Simon Grayson’s men and climb out of the danger zone after what will be nine games of the season gone, with Derby and Rotherham also looking to climb away from their places near relegation trap door.

The the following Tuesday, Wigan welcome Wolverhampton to the DW Stadium, who are now 10th after a 2-0 win away to Newcastle United.