EMMERSON Boyce is cursing his luck after his injury jinx struck again.
The Wigan right-back was sidelined for 11 weeks earlier in the campaign after damaging his hamstring against Bolton in mid-October.
Six games into his comeback, however, he suffered a slight recurrence against Blackburn earlier this month which has meant more time in the treatment room.
After missing last weekend’s trip to Liverpool and Wednesday night’s FA Cup defeat against Bolton, Boyce (pictured right) has an outside chance of making next weekend’s visit of Manchester United. But the 31-year-old is wary of rushing back too soon, after seeing an initial two-week lay-off spiral out of control last time.
Boyce told the Evening Post: “I’m hoping to be back next weekend, although we thought the original one would be a fortnight and it turned out to be nearer two months.
“Fingers crossed, the initial stage of the recovery is going well and I’m aiming for the United game, if not then definitely Manchester City the weekend after.
“Thankfully, there’s not as much pressure to race back because it’s FA Cup this weekend.
“The main priority for me is making sure I’m fit for the final third of the season.”
Boyce is desperate to make himself available for the relegation run-in, after being forced to watch from the sidelines as his Crystal Palace side fought unsuccessfully against the drop in 2004-05.
The Barbados international missed the final eight games of that campaign, and was helpless to prevent Palace lose their top-flight status on the last day at Charlton.
“It was such a frustrating time for me, missing the last few games of the season, and I certainly don’t want to go through that again,” he added.
“Hopefully I can mend quickly and I will have an injury-free end to the season.”
Ironically, Boyce suffered his latest setback on a rare excursion into the opposition box, when his left-foot shot was parried by Paul Robinson before James McCarthy slotted home the rebound.
“Straightaway I felt it go, but I didn’t think it was too serious,” Boyce revealed.
“I did set up a goal, though, so it was worth the pain. It was a small sacrifice.
“People keep telling me to use my left foot – and this is what happens when I do!
“I’ve told people it’s only good for using in the car, so maybe they’ll believe me now.”