Unclucky Kirk spends night in hospital

Chris Kirkland is stretchered off in a neck brace
Chris Kirkland is stretchered off in a neck brace

ROBERTO Martinez was left to count the cost of the dramatic derby draw with Bolton as Tom Cleverley and Chris Kirkland became the two latest additions to his injured list.

Ronnie Stam’s late strike rescued a point for Latics at the Reebok, which kept them off the bottom of the Premier League, but the result came at some cost.

Cleverley could miss the rest of January after pulling a hamstring in the opening exchanges, while Kirkland spent the night in hospital as a precaution after his head collided with the elbow of Johan Elmander and he was stretchered off in a neck brace.

Already robbed of the services of injured quartet James McCarthy, Victor Moses, Emmerson Boyce and Franco di Santo as well as the suspended Charles N’Zogbia, Martinez accepts his men are doing it tough at the moment.

“To lose Tom, who has been a really inspirational player, and you are limited,” Martinez said.

“We think he’ll be out for three to four weeks, but he’s only 21 and is very fit, so he should be back quicker than most other players.

“But it’s about how you react. It’s all too easy to accept defeat and look to the next game. That wasn’t the attitude.

“We got the goal and the character that we showed was a platform that we need for the next 17 games.”

On Kirkland, who was making his first start since October, Martinez added: “The first report is good.

“Chris is going to be in hospital for 24 hours as a precaution but the first report was quite positive.

“He didn’t know where he was for a minute, but we are led to believe it’s not something to be too concerned about.”

Kirkland’s replacement, Mike Pollitt, was Wigan’s hero alongside Stam, the veteran stopper pulling off a series of stunning saves to keep out his home-town club.

“It would have been too easy to have accepted defeat given what happened to us,” Martinez added.

“But Mike came out with a great attitude and was ready for the team when we needed him.

“Mike is a clear example in our football club of how a professional should behave.

“If you are looking at day to day, his standards are fantastic. I need to keep reminding myself how old he is because of the enthusiasm with which he works.

“We even had chances to win it at the end, although we couldn’t find that killer pass that would have opened Bolton up.

“Overall, though, I felt that a draw was a very fair result for both sides.”

Martinez also hit out at referee Phil Dowd, who showed Stam the yellow card for going slightly over the top in celebrating his 80th-minute leveller in front of the away end.

“You see Ronnie giving his all and enjoying his celebration, and you need to show a bit of common sense,” the Wigan boss mused.