GREAT Scot Shaun Maloney is ready to hand Latics a huge boost ahead of Saturday’s crunch clash against Norwich.
The midfield maestro was absent from the side which went down 2-1 at Sheffield Wednesday – a result which kept them in the bottom-three of the Championship.
Maloney, the subject of simmering speculation linking him with Everton, was struck down by illness on the day of the game.
He proved his mettle by offering to play, but common-sense prevailed and he was quarantined away from his team-mates to prevent the spread of a sickness bug.
Malky Mackay expects to rule one way or the other tomorrow, but is confident the 31-year-old will be fit to run out at the DW Stadium.
The manager said: “Shaun’s had a rough few days, and Monday and Tuesday he still wasn’t feeling too good.
“We’ve got a few days left before we have to make a decision, but he should be fine for the weekend.
“He’s a terrific kid, and someone who came to me to say he would go on the bench on Saturday if I needed him.
“But there’s no point taking risks. We had to make sure we didn’t get something going through the training ground.
“You don’t want that, and it’s about making sure Richard Collinge (head of medical) and Dr Zaman look after him in the meantime.”
Maloney, out of contract at the end of the season, has been linked with Everton over the past few weeks.
Mackay has previously revealed he has had “a chat” with him about his future, but is happy to talk to further “at a later date.
He said Maloney’s full focus was on helping Latics – 23rd in the Championship – climb away from relegation danger.
Meanwhile, Wigan Athletic learned yesterday of the passing of former captain Albert Jackson. He played 108 games between 1972 and ’75, when Latics played in the Northern Premier League.