OWEN Coyle admits he feels for Shaun Maloney as the Latics playmaker’s injury nightmare continues.
Maloney (below) has not kicked a ball since the trip to Leicester in mid-September.
After being dogged by a hip problem in pre-season, Maloney picked up a back problem on international duty last month.
Specialists have so far been unable to ascertain whether the problems are linked and Maloney has this week undergone a course of injections, which it’s hoped will solve the problem.
The worst-case scenario would see the former Celtic man out of action for a lengthy period.
And Coyle admits everyone at the club is keeping their fingers crossed that Maloney returns before long.
“Shaun is a footballer first and foremost – he just wants to play,” Coyle told the Evening Post.
“He’s also a deep thinker and a very conscientious lad, but he’s at his best and at his happiest when he’s out there kicking a ball around.
“We just have to wait for the next week to 10 days, see what happens with this injection.”