ROBERTO Martinez is celebrating a rare bit of positive news of late after midfielder Momo Diame was cleared of serious ankle ligament damage.
The Senegal international lasted just 12 minutes of last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Fulham after being on the receiving end of two particularly over-zealous challenges in the opening exchanges.
First, Zdenek Grygera was yellow-carded for a late block on Diame, who had barely regained his feet before being pole-axed by Steve Sidwell – a challenge that referee Mike Jones, incredibly, didn’t feel warranted even a free-kick.
Despite trying to run it off, Diame had to call it quits shortly after, the Wigan management fearing he’d sustained the kind of ligament damage that ruled Hugo Rodallega out for several weeks earlier this term.
Thankfully, that’s not the case, and Diame is even in line to face Mick McCarthy’s Wolves in this Sunday’s massive six-pointer at Molineux.
“Momo is a very, very fortunate man indeed to have got away with it, because when you look at the pictures, they are very disturbing,” Martinez told the Evening Post.
“As the contact with Sidwell comes in, Momo manages to get his leg off the ground – otherwise it would have been a broken leg for sure.
“It only appears to be a sprain, which we are very confident we can manage and work on, and he is still in with a chance of playing at Wolves.
“The ligament damage we were fearing has not materialised, and we’re hoping he’ll be able to resume training by the end of the week.
“Compared to what the damage could have been, we are very happy and very lucky to have got away with it.”
Martinez also criticised referee Jones’ role in Diame’s misfortune, believing the official did not take appropriate action in terms of punishment.
“It was a shocking, horrific challenge – the second in quick succession – and it makes you feel referees should be protecting talented players a bit more,” Martinez added.
“It wasn’t an accident for Momo to get two of those type of challenges within the space of 45 seconds – and the second challenge wasn’t even given as a free-kick.
“Momo just didn’t get the protection he deserved from the referee, and that is the really disappointing thing. But it’s probably systematic of the way things are going for us.
“You get a positive result, and all of a sudden these sort of decisions go your way, the players get protected and you don’t see players leaving the field injured. At the moment, it’s not going for us, but that means we have to work harder than ever to turn things round.”