Gary Caldwell has received a fitness bost and an injury blow regarding Alex Gilbey and Reece Burke on the eve of Wigan Athletic’s derby trip to Preston.
Gilbey was carried off the field during last weekend’s home stalemate against Fulham, with initial fears he’d suffered serious damage to his knee and ankle.
I think the type of lad he is, hopefully he’ll be back by the earlier date rather than the later oneGary Caldwell
Thankfully the prognosis is not as bad as was first feared, although the ex-Colchester man is still on crutches with his leg in a protective cast.
The news on Burke is not good, with the on-loan man set for a month on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on a hernia problem aggravated in last week’s defeat at Norwich.
“Reece had an operation on Tuesday on his hernia,” reported Caldwell.
“He should be out for three or four weeks.
“I think the type of lad he is, hopefully he’ll be back by the earlier date rather than the later one.”
On Gilbey, Caldwell was in rather more positive mood.
“Alex has had his scan and it’s all good news,” the Latics chief added.
“We were worried it could have been a really bad one, but it’s only a twist to his ankle and his knee.
“The full extent, we’re not entirely sure about, but so far it’s positive news.
“Hopefully he’ll be back soon, and he’ll be better for it.”
The injuries to Gilbey and Burke are the latest in a long line of problems to affect Latics in the full-back positions this term.
Kyle Knoyle suffered a badly-broken elbow without kicking a ball for the club following his loan arrival from West Ham in the summer.
Donervon Daniels is also out long-term after undergoing surgery to correct a persistent knee problem.
Youngster Luke Burke has also been in the wars after starting the season in the starting XI, while the problems are not restricted to the right-hand side of the defence.
Left-back Reece James underwent further surgery this summer after being out since January with an ankle problem and, although he had his cast removed yesterday, he won’t be back for at least a couple of months.
Andy Kellett, meanwhile, will miss the majority of the campaign with knee ligament damage.
“It sometimes can happen like that, where you get injuries in the same position,” acknowledged the Latics boss.
“This year, the nature of the injuries, in terms of them being long-term, has been frustrating.
“It’s not like we have Donervon or Reece James back in a couple of weeks - we know they’re out for quite a lengthy period, and we have to deal with it as a squad.
“But it does take its toll, when you end up playing Alex - who’s clearly not a right-back - out of position, and then he gets injured.
“We’re down to the bare minimum now, and we have to deal with it, and find a way to win under those circumstances.
“Hopefully, touch wood, that’s it now, and we can move on from it now.”