SHAUN Maloney will make a welcome return to action today to give Uwe Rosler a much-needed boost on the fitness front.
Rosler yesterday confirmed that Chris McCann faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines - as first revealed in the Evening Post - after shattering his kneecap against Manchester City last weekend.
With Ben Watson already out for the season with a double leg break, it leaves Latics a little light in the middle of the park.
However, the sight of Maloney making his first appearance in six months for the Development Squad this afternoon against Morecambe is a massive fillip at a crucial stage of the season.
The Scotland star hasn’t featured since the 2-0 defeat at Leicester back in September, having aggravated a hip problem on international duty.
But he hopes to come through the latest stage of his recovery with a good run-out against the Shrimps at Robin Park (2pm).
As one door opens, however, another one looks to have closed for McCann, who came off second best in a 50/50 collision with Micah Richards at the Etihad.
“Chris has a multiple fracture of his right patella,” said Rosler.
“He is down in London with a leading knee specialist, and soon we will find out the procedure for his recovery. The impact is catastrophic for both him and the club, especially coming on the back of Ben’s injury last month, because the pair of them have been crucial players for us.
“Chris has played more or less every game for me, in several positions, and it is a very big blow for us.
“But that is life, and we must get on with it. We can’t use the fact we are missing players as an excuse.
“We have to focus on the players who are available to us.” It’s a hammer blow for Rosler, who will again shuffle his pack for tonight’s visit of Sheffield Wednesday.
Ryan Tunnicliffe, cup-tied at the weekend, looks set to take over from McCann in the engine room for his first Wigan start.
Martyn Waghorn will also return to the fold, with Nicky Maynard - an unused substitute at the weekend - set to reclaim his spot.