GARY Caldwell is desperately trying to prove his fitness ahead of tonight’s trip to Newcastle.
But Roberto Martinez has every faith in Adrian Lopez should his skipper fail to make it.
The Spaniard stepped in against Manchester City last weekend and put in a man-of-the-match performance against the likes of Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and David Silva.
And Martinez admits he would have no problem pitching the young Spaniard into the cauldron-like atmosphere of St James’ Park against sharp-shooters Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse.
“Adrian is such a top professional that no-one inside the dressing room was surprised with the way he came in and conducted himself against Manchester City,” said Martinez.
“I thought on the ball he was very confident and comfortable, and he shares such a strong bond with the other players you could see the way they were all delighted with him.”
Martinez will give Caldwell, who has missed the last two games with a hamstring strain, every chance to prove his fitness on his return to his former stomping ground.
But Martinez admits Caldwell’s injury has not been an easy one to manage.
“There is no tear in the muscle but it is in the membrane that protects the muscle,” Martinez said.
“If you force it before it’s 100 per cent, then you are risking the muscle tearing.
“From a medical point of view, it’s not the injury itself that has kept Gary out, but the injury we are trying to prevent him from getting.”
Elsewhere David Jones is 50/50 after picking up a calf knock against City, but the news is less positive concerning Wigan’s other walking wounded.
Ben Watson, Ryo Miyaichi, Antolin Alcaraz, Albert Crusat, Ivan Ramis and Shaun Maloney will all miss the game, with the dependable Emmerson Boyce expected to continue as captain if Caldwell misses out.
“Boycey brings you confidence and experience,” Martinez acknowledged.
“He can play in many positions, and that’s always a real strength to have in your squad and why he is so valued here at the club.”