Injuries bite into Wigan Athletic squad ahead of Reading clash
Paul Cook will again be forced to shuffle his pack for tonight’s clash at Reading, with injuries continuing to bite the Wigan Athletic squad.
The Latics boss – already without Danny Fox(groin), Kieran Dowell (ankle) and Antonee Robinson (groin) – has been forced into at least two changes from the side that beat Millwall on Saturday.
“We’ve got a couple of injuries from the weekend,” revealed the Latics boss.
“One or two of the lads who played against Millwall won’t be involved against Reading.
“Great credit to them for staying out there and seeing the game out on Saturday, but they won’t be travelling down with us.
“That’s obviously disappointing, but it’s something we’ve had to get used to over the course of the season.”
“I just hope that when people see the team before the game, they don’t think I’ve gone mad again!”
While keeping his cards close to his chest, Cook revealed Joe Gelhardt is one of those nursing a knock.
And the England Under-18 star may also be out of Friday’s FA Youth Cup quarter-final tie against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
When asked whether Gelhardt would feature at Reading, or be saved for the club’s biggest ever fixture at Under-18 level, Cook replied: “Joffy’s picked up a little niggle, which is a little bit unfortunate.
“At the minute, we don’t even know if Joffy would be able to play (on Friday) anyway.
“But I’d like to think he would be able to take part in the game for sure, and I think that would be a big boost for everyone.”
Centre-back Chey Dunkley is available again after serving a two-game suspension for his sending-off against Middlesbrough.
But Cook must decide to err on the side of caution regarding Anthony Pilkington, with the demands of three games in a week running the risk of him picking up another soft-tissue injury.
“Anthony has never ever been questioned in terms of talent and ability,” Cook reiterated.
“But we’ve certainly had a problem over the 12 months or so he’s been here in terms of keeping him fit.
“That just comes with the stress and the strain of playing Championship football, and we’ve got to manage that as best we can.
“Even against Millwall on Saturday, he was very disappointed at having to come off after 75 minutes.
“I think a couple of people in the crowd were also very disappointed at seeing him come off!
“But I’ve also been disappointed when I’ve not been able to pick him for the next game because he’s not been right.
“And I have to manage the situation as best I can, it’s something you have to do as a manager.”