IVAN Ramis is on the verge of a welcome return to the Wigan Athletic fold.
The Spanish centre-back has been out for over 10 months after sustaining a cruciate ligament injury at Fulham last January.
But after months of gruelling rehab, Ramis is knocking on the door for a first-team return. And after completing another 90 minutes for the Development Squad, boss Owen Coyle admits it would be a massive boost to have the 29-year-old available.
“Ivan played another closed-doors game against Blackburn, which I attended, and he’s getting better with every game,” Coyle said.
“What we’ve got to understand is he’s been out for nearly a year, and it was a career-threatening injury that he suffered with.
“Slowly he’s coming along, and I thought he did very well in this latest game. What we’re doing is giving him the platform to take the training he’s been doing into a match situation, and getting that sharpness into his legs so he’ll be ready to fit into the level we’re playing at.”
Ramis has had to endure a mixture of emotions during his lay-off - watching his team-mates lift the FA Cup before being relegated from the Premier League three days later.
But Coyle believes the former Real Mallorca man will return with a point to prove.
“He’s a great lad, a tremendous character, he’s focused and he wants to do well for Wigan Athletic which augers well for us,” the Latics chief added.
“He’s demanding of himself at the training ground, which is great to see for me as a manager. We’ll be getting a top player back, we just need to make sure he’s 100 per cent bang on when he does come back into the arena. When he does come back, we need to make sure he’s in for the long haul because, such is his quality, he has a big role to play.”