HUGO Rodallega is in line for a sensational return for Wigan Athletic’s massive derby clash against Bolton tomorrow.
The Colombian hot-shot damaged knee ligaments against Everton last month, an injury that it was feared would rule him out until Christmas.
Thankfully, a second opinion proved to be more positive, and Rodallega’s desperation to regain full fitness has seen him banging on Roberto Martinez’s door for involvement against the Trotters.
The Wigan manager insists he will not gamble with Rodallega’s fitness, for fear of him suffering a setback. But, mindful of the importance of tomorrow’s game, the Spaniard says he will give his star striker every chance of making the cut.
“Hugo’s still feeling his knee a little bit, there’s still a bit of bruising, but the structure is fine and that’s the main thing,” Martinez said.
“I was a little worried he could have suffered a relapse because of the complicated nature of the injury, but thankfully that has not been the case.
“Of course, we are desperate to have him available, but I don’t want to have him back for tomorrow and then unavailable for the next few weeks.
“If it’s not right for Hugo, it’s not right for anyone, it’s not right for the team and it’s not right for me.
“Let’s not forget it’s only four weeks since we were all fearing the worst, so we don’t want to rush things now.
“We’ll leave it until the last possible moment before making a decision, but it’ll be a decision that’s in the best and long-term interests of the football club and not just for tomorrow.”
While it would be pushing it to expect Rodallega to start against Bolton, the presence of Wigan’s golden boot on the bench would provide a massive fillip for the fans as well as a side that has lost its last five matches.
New signing Albert Crusat has also been passed fit after overcoming a calf strain, while Steve Gohouri is available after serving a one-match ban for his recent red card against Spurs.
The one major worry surrounds James McCarthy, who has been battling a bout of tonsillitis that ruled him out of Ireland’s double-header against Andorra and Armenia.
Elsewhere, Martinez has reported a clean bill of health following the international break, which he feels has done everyone the world of good.
“This break has allowed us to focus a lot on the individuals that have stayed behind, which has proved invaluable,” Martinez added.
“Some of the players needed a break, some needed to work on their fitness and some used the break to accelerate their rehabilitation.
“I feel all the players reached and exceeded their individual targets and in that respect took the maximum out of the break.
“The players that have been away also created a feel-good factor about the squad.
“We had three players who captained their countries - Ali Al Habsi for Oman, Emmerson Boyce for Barbados and Gary Caldwell for part of Scotland’s game - which was fantastic.
“It’s just a matter now of seeing how Boycey, Ali and Maynor Figueroa react to their long-haul flights, and how James is feeling after his bout of tonsillitis.
“He was in bed for 24 hours, which stopped him playing for the Republic of Ireland, and we need to assess him in the next 24 hours.
“Tonsillitis can take a lot out of you as a player, out of your body, and we need him to be fully fit and ready to play.”