CALLUM McManaman insists he can handle all the rough stuff that Championship defences are throwing his way.
McManaman has found himself a marked man this season, with opposition defences repeatedly resorting to kicking lumps out of him to curb his effectiveness.
Uwe Rosler pleaded last month for referees to afford his four-goal forward special protection to prevent him getting badly injured.
And the Latics boss was blazing mad on Tuesday night after the 23-year-old was forced off before half-time after a lunge from Ipswich defender Christophe Berra left him with a dead leg.
McManaman’s sixth sense saw him take evasive action in advance, which may have saved him from more serious damage. And he still has an outside chance of making Saturday’s tough trip to Bournemouth, where he’ll be hoping to continue his fine form.
“I was a bit sore yesterday but I don’t think it’s too bad,” McManaman told the Evening Post.
“I tried to run it off but it was just getting worse and starting to seize up.
“Hopefully I’ll be all right for Saturday, we’ll see how it settles down over the next few days.”
McManaman admits the damage could have been far worse had he not anticipated the clattering.
“I’ve seen him coming and I’ve jumped to try to get out of the way,” the ex-Everton junior revealed.
“He’s still ended up catching me and I wasn’t happy to be honest.
“He’s come at me at pace, he’s hit me high, really smashed me. I think they’ve set out to do that, be physical, and their game plan’s worked.
“But that’s football, and I don’t mind that side of the game. It doesn’t bother me at all.
“The more physical the opposition is, the more chance we have of winning free-kicks and penalties.
“And there’s no reason why we can’t be physical back and show a bit more fight like they did.”
McManaman is also confident Latics have what it takes to arrest their recent slump – one point collected from the last three matches – and get back to winning ways on the south coast this weekend.
“On paper the squad here is probably better than any other in the Championship,” he added.
“We just need to gel a bit more, with the new signings and stuff, and once we get going we’ll be fine.
“It’s been an up-and-down start, but once we get a few wins on the board it can all change – as we saw last season.
“We just need to be more positive. I know there weren’t too many positives from the Ipswich game but we have to keep upbeat and focused, because we know we’re a good enough squad.”