Alcaraz looks set for Wembley return

Antolin Alcaraz
Antolin Alcaraz

ANTOLIN Alcaraz is ready to give Wigan Athletic’s defence a massive boost on the eve of the FA Cup final against Manchester City.

The big Paraguayan has been sidelined since damaging his hamstring at West Ham last month.

But the problem has responded to treatment, and he has been able to rejoin the group for training this week.

Latics have badly missed his composure at the back, with seven goals conceded in the three matches he’s missed.

But Roberto Martinez is keeping his fingers crossed for a rare spot of good news on the injury front.

“Antolin has a chance, but it’s difficult to know for sure until just before kick-off,” said Martinez.

“He will definitely play before the season ends, and we didn’t expect that.

“His injury has healed really well. It’s a little tear at the back of the hamstring, but not in the muscle, a bit higher up, next to the tendon, so it’s okay.”

Martinez will make a late decision about who plays in goal for Latics, with Ali Al Habsi and Joel Robles competing for the starting berth.

Joel has been a virtual ever-present since the quarter-final victory at Everton in March.

But Al Habsi got the nod for the semi-final triumph against Millwall, when he kept a clean sheet.

“It will depend a little bit because Joel is fully fit, and remember that Ali only lost his spot because he was not fully fit with his shoulder injury,” added Martinez.

“They are two goalkeepers that in my eyes are phenomenal.

“Joel is a young man and Ali is an experienced man.

“I don’t think we could hope for better protection in goal.”