Loan star Burke returns to West Ham
Loan star Reece Burke has returned to his parent club West Ham to try to get to the bottom of his niggling hip problem.
Burke was back in the Latics starting side at the weekend after missing the previous game against Derby.
But he was only unable to negotiate 45 minutes before being forced to quit the action, to be replaced during the interval by Jordi Gomez.
The 20-year-old is now back in the capital to be assessed by the West Ham medics, before a decision is made on what to do next.
But boss Warren Joyce is already resigned to be without him for tomorrow’s big game against table-toppers Newcastle at the DW Stadium – and perhaps even over the festive period.
“We still don’t know how bad he is,” Joyce told the Evening Post. “He’s gone back to West Ham, so their people can have a look at him.
“It’s a case of ‘wait and see’ over the next few days, but it’s fair to say he’ll definitely be out for Wednesday.
“Beyond that, it’s about coming up with a course of action, and how their medics see the injury.
“Obviously West Ham are his parent club, they’ve got very high hopes for him, so it’s how they decide to act when they’ve heard back from the specialist.”
Joyce denied that Burke had paid a high price for being rushed back too soon from his original injury.
“It’s not really a case of him coming back too soon,” the Latics boss said.
“It’s something we’ve been trying to manage, the discomfort he’s been suffering.”
Joyce should at least have right wing-back Nathan Byrne available after an ankle injury.
The ex-Wolves man has missed the last two matches but is back with the group.
“Nathan trained with us on Sunday morning, and we’ll look at him again over the next couple of days,” Joyce added.
“With the injury he’s had, it’s like a straight knock, and probably easier for him to start rather than come on as sub and then maybe have to go off after five minutes, which is not ideal.”
Left-back Luke Garbutt has been filling in on the right-hand side, but Joyce acknowledged: “It’s something that needs addressing.”