ANTOLIN Alcaraz could be sidelined until the New Year after sustaining a suspected fractured rib during Wigan’s 2-1 victory at West Brom.
The injury to the Paraguayan was the only negative on a great day for Latics who temporarily moved out of the bottom three with their second away win on the bounce.
Goals from Victor Moses and Jordi Gomez – with his second successful spot-kick in as many away games – were enough to see Latics record only their third win of the campaign.
But boss Roberto Martinez admitted some of the gloss had been taken off by news of Alcaraz’s misfortune.
“Unfortunately Antolin has gone straight for an x-ray, and the fear is that he has got a fractured rib,” Martinez told the Evening Post.
“He couldn’t breathe when he had to come off in the second half. He tried to hang on but he just couldn’t get his breath.
“The doctor managed to sort that out in the dressing room, but Antolin will need to be assessed properly and we are all keeping our fingers crossed as to the outcome.
“It depends on the extent of the injury, but if there is a fracture that could be weeks – which would be a massive blow for us and for Antolin.
“We’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully there’ll be some good news for us on that one.
Alcaraz was making his first appearance for a month after serving a three-match suspension for his spat with Wolves defender Richard Stearman on his last visit to the West Midlands.
And the Wigan boss admitted his defensive rock would leave a massive hole in a defence that stood firm at the weekend despite some concerted West Brom pressure.
“I thought Antolin was colossal alongside the rest of the backline,” Martinez added.
“Players like Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie are always going to test you, but we coped with that threat and also that of Jerome Thomas and Chris Brunt very well indeed.”
Martinez was also less-than-impressed with the performance of assistant referee Adam Watts, who played a major role in West Brom’s opening goal after flagging for an apparent foul by Gary Caldwell on Shane Long despite Mike Dean being on top of the incident and having seen nothing untoward.
Incredibly, Watts was also on duty for Wigan’s recent home game against Blackburn, when the officials somehow missed Morten Gamst Pedersen taking a corner to himself and helping to rob Martinez’s men of two priceless points.
“The linesman was miles away yet made the decision for the free-kick,” added Martinez.
“If you remember, it was the same linesman who also said Yakubu took the corner against Blackburn, when everybody could see that he didn’t.
“That is something that disappoints me a great deal.
“When you are an assistant, you need to give support to the referee and help the referee to make the right decision.
“In this situation, from that distance, I don’t think he has given any help to the referee at all.
“I thought the referee controlled the game very well and was on top of of every single decision.
“But that was a needless piece of information he was given by the assistant, and given the previous experiences we’ve had with him it was a real shame – and a real concern.”