News of Clarke injury is a crumb of comfort

Jermaine Pennant on debut for Latics
Jermaine Pennant on debut for Latics

A POSITIVE injury report on Leon Clarke was the sole crumb of comfort on another desperately disappointing night for Wigan Athletic.

Latics crashed 1-0 to Cardiff City to remain in the Championship relegation mire with just 13 matches left.

It’s only a soft-tissue injury, and we’re hoping to get him back

Malky Mackay

Aron Gunnarsson scored the winner for the Bluebirds, with Latics seeing ‘goals’ from James McClean and Martyn Waghorn chalked off for offside when TV replays suggested they were perfectly legal.

Boss Malky Mackay will at least have been buoyed by the injury report received back from Wolves regarding on-loan striker Clarke, with a second scan showing he escaped serious injury when he was stretchered off against Charlton last weekend.

“The second scan showed there is no crack in the shoulder-blade, which is terrific news,” Mackay revealed.

“It’s only a soft-tissue injury, and we’re hoping to get him back.

“When? I don’t know. But soft-tissue injuries heal quickly, whereas breaks are longer-term.

“That’s a positive for the football club that we can him back, and we will be getting him back.”

It’s a rare lucky break of late for Latics, who slumped to another damaging defeat despite finding the back of the net twice, as well as forcing goalkeeper David Marshall into a couple of top-drawer saves.

“We’re desperately disappointed because they’re both onside,” said Mackay.

“I thought we put in a terrific performance on a very tricky pitch, against a side with a solid back four who we knew would sit in.

“We had to move them and I thought we did that – we were playing against the best goalkeeper in the division and he’s pulled off two lovely saves.

“We did breach his goal twice tonight and, on the back of the referees’ association texting me yesterday to apologise on behalf of the linesman for the first goal against Bournemouth that he got wrong, there’s another two tonight that are wrong as well and it cost us.

“We knew it would be a tough battle. Cardiff scored on their one chance in our box, but overall I thought the way we went at them, I’m very proud of them.”

Mackay hailed the contribution of midfielder Kim Bo-Kyung, who was outstanding against his former club and almost found a leveller right at the death.

“That’s why I brought him in to the football club, and why I brought him in to the country in the first place,” acknowledged the Latics chief.

“The pitch wasn’t great but he showed bravery and showed what a good player he is, and he nearly scores right at the end.

“He’s settled in really well. He’s a terrific lad and a terrific footballer. That’s why he’s here.”

Mackay also thanked the Cardiff fans for the positive reception they afforded him at the start.

“I had a good rapport with the supporters during my time in Cardiff, and to get that response tonight was something that will live with me,” he added.