Caldwell’s new injury concern

Nick Powell had to leave Saturdays action at Hillsborough with a groin problem
Nick Powell had to leave Saturdays action at Hillsborough with a groin problem

Gary Caldwell is keeping his fingers crossed that Saturday’s defeat at Sheffield Wednesday hasn’t been compounded by an injury blow for Nick Powell.

The summer signing from Manchester United pulled up lame in the first half of the 2-1 defeat at Hillsborough with a groin problem, to be replaced by Shaun MacDonald.

He is almost certainly out of tomorrow night’s tough trip to Norwich, with Caldwell hoping he was substituted before any significant damage could occur.

“Nick’s obviously an influential player for us,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.

“We don’t yet know the extent of the damage, but fingers crossed it’s not too bad.”

Latics had largely been giving as good as they’d got prior to Powell’s withdrawal, despite Steve Fletcher having equalising Will Grigg’s fifth-minute opener.

But the visitors played second fiddle for much of the second period, and the home side deservedly took the spoils thanks to Fernando Forestieri’s winner just after the hour mark.

The result extends Wigan’s losing streak to three matches, with only one win from seven matches in all competitions.

Caldwell, though, believes there is far too much quality in the camp to preach for the panic button just yet.

“I believe in this squad 100 per cent,” the Latics chief asserted.

“Obviously the level we’re playing at has changed, and we didn’t play against strikers like this last season.

“We have to learn how to deal with that, and also be ourselves on the ball, and have no fear, whatever the score.

“We gave everything to try to get back in the game, but I can see a win round the corner and I can see us going on a good run from that.

“We’re not losing games by a few goals - we’re losing games by the odd goal.

“It’s small margins, and we need to turn that in our favour.

“I don’t think they were causing us too much trouble when they had the ball in the first half.

“I thought our shape was excellent, and we limited them to very few chances in that spell.

“It was the momentum they got in the game, from us giving away possession, that led to their equaliser.

“The frustrating thing for us was on the ball rather than off the ball.

“I thought we had more threat in that second half, but it was a shame the freedom in our play came at 2-1 down rather than 1-1.”

Caldwell handed a full debut to Reece Burke, who impressed at centre-back, while fellow newbie Adam Le Fondre appeared off the bench for the second half.

A third deadline-week arrival, Nathan Byrne, was surprisingly left out of the 18, although he could feature at Norwich on Wednesday.

“I just thought Nathan wasn’t quite physically ready for this one,” added Caldwell.

“We’re working hard to get him up to speed as quickly as we possibly can.”