Shaun MacDonald has suffered a cruel setback less than a week after making his long-awaited return to the Wigan Athletic fold.
The Wales midfielder was named on the bench for last weekend’s FA Cup trip to Bournemouth – his first appearance on the team sheet for nine months since breaking his leg in the penultimate game of last term at Reading.
But his hopes of forcing his way back on to the field have been rocked by a freak injury – to his other leg – sustained in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Fleetwood.
“Shaun’s had a bit of a knock this week, in a practice game,” revealed boss Paul Cook.
“He had quite a heavy tackle, which was a bit disappointing, on his other leg, his other knee.
“We’re just waiting for the results of the scan, but it looks like an injury that will keep him out for a period of time.
“It’s obviously nothing to do with his previous injury, but it is very disappointing.
“These things sometimes happen on the first steps back, but the good thing is he’s a good lad who keeps himself in good condition.
“Shaun’s a strong character, and I think a lot of people have rightly pointed out what a good lad he is. He’ll be back, don’t worry about that.”
The setback could not have come at a more inopportune time, with MacDonald hoping to take advantage of the departure of loan star Lee Evans, who was recalled by Wolves and sold to Sheffield United on Wednesday.
Rather than bemoan his misfortune, Cook prefers to take a more pragmatic stance.
“That’s part of the game – it genuinely is,” he acknowledged. “When you’re bringing in loan players, this is always a risk.
“If you want to be a strong club, you want your own players.
“If you look back to last summer, when there was so much chopping and changing and stuff, we were left with no choice but to go into the loan market.
“In Lee’s case, that’s an example of a signing that we would now look to be making.
“But sometimes timing goes against you.
“We could all say a million things at a time like this, but we won’t.
“One thing I will say is that Lee Evans was very happy at this football club
“That’s football. We’re having a strong season on and off the pitch, and the most important decision is now the next one.
“If you make enough good decisions, you’ll have a good future.”