ROBERTO Martinez is keeping his fingers crossed that Wigan’s Copa America jinx hasn’t robbed him of the services of Hugo Rodallega until Christmas.
Rodallega was stretchered off in the closing stages of Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Everton, with knee ligament damage the initial prognoses by the medical team.
The exact extent of the damage will be determined this week, but the Wigan boss – already without Antolin Alcaraz for three months with a ruptured quad muscle – is fearing the worst.
“Hugo has damaged the medial ligament in his right knee and it doesn’t look good,” Martinez told the Evening Post.
“Having returned from the Copa America tournament in the summer, he’s returned looking sharp, he’s been enjoying his football and it’s the biggest negative to come out of Saturday’s game.
“The scans will give us a final verdict in the week but, if it’s a rupture of the ligament, we’re looking at him being out for anything up to 12 weeks.
“We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed and see if Hugo’s body has reacted well to the injury or not.”
Rodallega came into the campaign on the back of a pre-season lasting barely a fortnight due to his exploits at the Copa America with Colombia, and he looks like joining Alcaraz – whose pre-season was even shorter on account of Paraguay reaching the final – on the long-term injured list.
His likely lengthy lay-off will heap more responsibility on the shoulders of Franco di Santo, who continued his superb start to the season with another goal at Goodison – his third of the season – in Wigan’s 3-1 defeat.
“Franco has been very consistent since we started the campaign, he is hungry for success and his mentality is superb after a full pre-season behind him,” added Martinez.
“Off the ball he worked hard for his team-mates and when he had it at his feet he was a threat. This season he is ready to fulfil his potential and we all want him to continue enjoying his football.
“His goal was the reward for his overall performance, and he’ll continue to get those rewards if his performances remain consistent.”