Wigan Athletic boss Gary Caldwell is reeling from his first injury setback of the season, with loan star Kyle Knoyle set to be sidelined for ‘a long time’ with a badly-broken elbow.
The 19-year-old right-back only joined Latics last week on a season-long loan from Premier League outfit West Ham United.
But he suffered a dislocated and fractured elbow on the club’s week-long training camp in Portugal, which has required immediate surgery.
Knoyle, an England Under-18 international will remain with Latics as he comes to terms with the hammer blow.
And boss Caldwell cannot believe the chain of events that KO’d his latest signing within hours of joining up with his new team-mates.
“Kyle’s dislocated and fractured his elbow, and he’s already had to have an operation,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.
“We’re not entirely sure of timescales, but it’s going to be a long time.
“It’s so unfortunate for him, because he was so hungry to come in and do well.
“It was actually his first full-contact training session that it happened.
“It’s a freak injury, too – completely out of everyone’s control.
“I really feel for him, because he’s a great lad and he so wanted to do well here.
“Fingers crossed he can work hard on his rehab and get back fit as soon as he can.”
Caldwell hasn’t enjoyed the best of fortune with full-backs since taking over as Latics boss last year.
Right-back Kevin McNaughton picked up a serious knee injury in the first month of last season, just weeks after signing, and didn’t make another appearance for the club before his release last month.
Left-back Reece James, meanwhile, missed the second half of last term with a mystery ankle problem that took several weeks to get to the bottom of and then eventually treat,
Caldwell, however, remains hopeful Knoyle will be able to make a meaningful contribution to the cause – albeit further down the line.
“These things can happen in football, and you’ve got to be mentally tough to deal with and come back from setbacks like this,” the Latics boss added.
“Knowing the character I saw from him, in the few days we did work together, I’m sure he will do that.
“He’s still with us, and we’ll see how his rehab goes, and where we can take that.”
With Reece Wabara also leaving the club this summer, it means Caldwell is looking for a new right-back as a pressing concern, and he’ll run the rule over a trialist in training this week.