Joyce's injury headache
Warren Joyce has warned the injury problems at Latics could get worse before they improve.
The manager had 10 stars missing for the Boxing Day defeat to Rotherham, and now has illness to contend with as well as injuries ahead of today’s trip to Derby County.
But Joyce says having so many players out isn’t changing the way he is approaching the New Year programme of two games in three days, explaining that the desperate need for points eliminates the luxury of prioritising games.
“In an ideal world if you’ve got loads of players you could do different things for these two games but I don’t think we’re in a situation where we’ve got enough players to do that and every single point counts, so you can’t prioritise one game over the other,” he said.
“Every game is a game we want to win between now and the end of the season.”
On injuries, he revealed: “There’s not really anybody coming back. You’ve still got one or two ill as well, added to that from the weekend.”
Joyce will leave it as late as possible to give his players a chance to prove their fitness for the trip to Pride Park, where Latics will look to avenge the 1-0 loss to the Rams at the start of the month, but he is refusing the curse the hectic league schedule at this time of year.
“The way the injuries are and the illness, even this morning you want to get out of this room and find out as the players drive in who’s alright because there’s been little sniffles and things in general people pick up at this time of year,” he said.
“But you’re looking for resilient players.
“You’re trying to build players who are resilient and can adapt to that.”
Despite the difficult schedule ahead of Latics in their survival fight, Joyce is keeping an optimistic outlook going into the second half of the season.
Ahead of today’s kick off, the club sit five points adrift of safety, and the boss is hoping minor changes will make a big difference.
“The outlook performance wise, there have been some real positives and pleasing bits, things you want to see,” he said.
“You could look at every team in the league and think, well if that didn’t happen... and it would be easy for us to say we could have had four or five more points in the last five or six games.
“It isn’t all doom and gloom on my behalf.”