Graham Barrow is keeping his fingers crossed Will Grigg’s season hasn’t been ended by a worrying knee injury.
Wigan Athletic’s new interim manager is having to deal with the first major problem since succeeding Warren Joyce, who was sacked on Monday.
Grigg, who’s missed the last two matches, is already out of this weekend’s crunch clash with Aston Villa at the DW, as well as Northern Ireland’s big World Cup qualifier against Norway on Sunday week.
And Barrow is hoping being taken out of the firing line will enable him to be fit for the last month of the campaign.
“Will’s struggling at the minute, but we can only take it day by day,” Barrow told the Wigan Post.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, especially with the international break coming up. Hopefully he will be back available, but we’ll just have to wait and see on that one.
“We’re hoping something can be done, we’ll be speaking to the medics.”
The loss of Grigg would be a hammer blow to Wigan’s survival hopes.
Although he is without a league goal since September, Grigg banged in 29 goals last term and would have enjoyed the encouraging noises coming from Barrow about the team playing a more expansive style.
The bad news doesn’t end there, with Donervon Daniels definitely out for the season thanks to a persistent knee problem of his own.
The 23-year-old defender – a virtual ever-present in the promotion-winning success last season – has been restricted to just 13 minutes of league action this term, on the opening day at Bristol City.
“Donervon’s way off at the moment,” Barrow revealed.
“He’s not been training with us for ages now. It’s been a long, nightmare of a season for him unfortunately.
“We felt he had the power and potential to improve, and I know he thought it would be a big year for himself.
“Injury does happen to players, but it’s been a big disappointment for him – and for us really.”
When asked whether there was a chance of Daniels figuring in the relegation run-in, Barrow painted a gloomy picture.
“Next year I would have thought,” he added. “I can’t see it for this year.
“He seems to be doing all his work inside. We’ve not seen him on the grass for months. He just gets on with it, though, looking at the light at the end of the tunnel for next year.”