RYO Miyaichi could be Wigan Athletic’s secret weapon ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Everton after coming through his long-awaited comeback unscathed.
The on-loan Arsenal winger has been plagued by groin and ankle problems since joining Wigan last summer, making only one start and five substitute appearances in a Latics shirt.
Miyaichi, who made such a big impression last season on loan at Bolton, hadn’t kicked a ball since the 3-0 defeat at Liverpool in mid-November.
But he successfully negotiated 45 minutes of action for Graham Barrow’s Development Squad at Nottingham Forest and, barring a reaction this week, could make a surprise appearance on the bench for the trip to Everton.
“We need to be careful we don’t push him too early,” said boss Roberto Martinez.
“But I do see his ankle is fully recovered, and it is just a matter of introducing him slowly and seeing how he responds to his individual programme.”
Adrian Lopez played the full 90 minutes in Wigan’s 1-0 defeat – the first in four matches for Barrow’s men – which further increases Martinez’s options.
Nouha Dicko also played the full game although Callum McManaman and Fraser Fyvie were left out of the squad, hinting at possible starts at Goodison Park on Saturday.
There was also another run-out for young goalkeeper Marko Marosi, who is trying to earn a professional contract after being recommended to the club by former Latics defender Barry Knowles – the man who delivered Leighton Baines to Wigan.
“Marko is only 19 but has come from college football in Burnley and I think he has a great future in the game,” said Knowles.
“He is one to keep an eye on and hopefully he will have a decent career at Wigan.
“He’ll be there on trial until the end of the season. I have high hopes for him.”
Martinez, meanwhile, was back in his homeland yesterday to pick up the Catalan Coach of the Year award for 2012 at a gala dinner.
Tickets for the FA Cup quarter-final at Everton went on general sale this morning to supporters on the database, and will remain on sale until 4pm on Friday.
Those in the Paddock are priced £35 adults, £21.75 for over 65s and £17.50 for Under-16s.
Tickets in the Lower Bullens are £32 adults, £20.25 for over 65s and £16 for Under-16s.
Ambulant/disabled prices are the same as relevant price (includes free carer if eligible), and there is a £5 discount in price for Latics season-ticket holders.