Andy Kellett will be sidelined for ‘a number of months’ after sustaining knee ligament damage during Wigan Athletic’s pre-season training.
The 22-year-old left-back was hoping to challenge for a first-team spot this term after being on the outside looking in for much of his first 12 months at the DW.
But an innocuous-looking injury picked up last week has threatened to wreck his campaign before it’s even begun.
Boss Gary Caldwell has already lost right-back Kyle Knoyle to a badly-broken elbow, just days after his arrival from West Ham on a season-long loan, and is cursing his luck after another unpreventable injury.
“Andy was working extremely hard and doing extremely well this summer,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.
“He’s just flicked a ball up and felt the outside of his knee.
“He actually managed to finish the session, and it was only after he noticed a swelling.
“When we’ve got back we scanned it and it turns out he’s tore his lateral ligament in his knee.
“It’s something we’re not 100 per cent sure how we’re going to treat, but he is going to be out for a number of months.”
With Knoyle also on the long-term casualty list and Reece James not having played for six months due to a mystery ankle problem - and a question mark hanging over the future of Andrew Taylor, who spent last season on loan at Reading - Caldwell could well have done without losing another body in the full-back position.
“We knew physically we had to build the players up, and Andy was getting there,” Caldwell added.
“It’s just something that is out of control of our fitness coaches and physios.
“It wasn’t a muscle injury, it was an awkward kind of pass he’s played, and it’s very disappointing news.”