Warren Joyce insists he won’t rush the likes of Luke Burke and Kyle Knoyle back from injury despite Wigan Athletic’s ongoing problems at right-back.
Skipper Stephen Warnock became the latest player to fill in on the right-hand side of defence against Ipswich at the weekend, after Andy Kellett had replaced the injured Luke Garbutt against Newcastle three days earlier.
Youngster Burke made the bench on Saturday, having not appeared since the 2-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday in early September due to injury.
But Joyce says the 18-year-old is still some way off being considered from the start.
“Luke’s been injured since I’ve been at the club, and he’s only just coming back,” Joyce told the Evening Post.
“I’ve not seen a lot of him, it’s only the last week or so that he’s been back involved.”
Kyle Knoyle, on a season-long loan from West Ham, has been restricted to just a few seconds of action – thanks to a stoppage-time appearance off the bench at Cardiff on October 29 – after breaking his elbow in his first training session back in July.
And Joyce says the 20-year-old is also not the answer to the problem at this moment in time.
“Kyle’s a young player who’s never played at this level,” the Latics boss added.
“He’s showed a tremendous attitude in training, but it’s about assessing whether you think he could handle the strains of Championship football.
“Even since he’s recovered from his injury, he’s not trained every day, so it’s not been a smooth transition back in.
“There have been a few niggles behind the scenes that don’t necessarily get picked up on because he’s not a frontline player.
“But he’s another who’s not trained consistently since I’ve been here.”
Another West Ham loan loanee, Reece Burke, is back with his parent club to try to get to the bottom of a hip problem that has dogged him for weeks.
Donervon Daniels is on the road to recovery after undergoing surgery to clean up a knee problem.
And the crisis is also affecting players filling-in at right-back, with midfielder Alex Gilbey having damaged ankle ligaments while playing out of position during the 0-0 draw with Fulham in September.