Wigan Athletic boss faces up to the blow of being without duo until 2024

Shaun Maloney admits the prospect of Wigan Athletic duo Thelo Aasgaard and Jason Kerr being sidelined until the New Year is a massive blow all round.
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Centre-back Kerr has already been out of action for more than a year after sustaining knee ligament damage at Swansea last November.

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He recently made a successful return for the club's Under-21 side, only to suffer a freak foot injury that has knocked him back further.

Shaun Maloney is waiting to hear how long he'll be without Jason Kerr and Thelo AasgaardShaun Maloney is waiting to hear how long he'll be without Jason Kerr and Thelo Aasgaard
Shaun Maloney is waiting to hear how long he'll be without Jason Kerr and Thelo Aasgaard
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Forward Aasgaard, meanwhile, suffered an ankle problem during the latter stages of last weekend's FA Cup win at Exeter, which forced him to miss the midweek triumph over Peterborough.

He’s been forced to pull out of the Norway Under-20 squad for their forthcoming fixtures.

And Maloney says it would be a huge bonus to see either of them before the end of the year.

"Probably both of them will be looking at six to eight weeks,” he said.

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"Anything before the New Year, or Christmas, would be a huge bonus.

"Neither needs an operation, just rehab, and we’ll support them as much as we can.”

Speaking about Kerr, he said: “Jason’s was just unlucky, in a tackle, in a reserve game, as he was building his way back from his ACL injury.

"It’s a metatarsal injury, and it's such bad luck when you get an injury while coming back from injury, that happens in football.

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"He doesn't need to worry. He just needs to focus on getting himself right, and he'll be playing again soon."

On Aasgaard, he added: "Thelo's was such a big disappointment for us.

"It was the day after Exeter, we found out the ankle injury is quite significant.

"He went down with three or four minutes to go, and he managed to see the game out.

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"He's a real creative player, and he's been in brilliant form.

"But in those closing stages at Exeter he really played through the pain barrier to see us into the next round of the cup.

"And it's really bad timing, because in his last four games, he was starting on a roll.

"He’d really stepped up, and I really saw a side of him I hadn’t seen before.

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"Even in the Charlton game, I saw him leading the team, dragging the team back into the match.

"We’d found a position for him, in that No.9, where he had a freedom to go anywhere."

On a more positive note, the Latics boss is hoping full-back Sean Clare – part of his leadership group – will be available for Saturday's trip to Cheltenham after missing the Peterborough game.

"In the end, he wasn't that close (to playing against Peterborough)," Maloney added.

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"I gave him until the last minute but I just hope he's available for the weekend.

"Him and Steven Sessegnon in that back three have really clicked, so I hope he makes it.

"He’s probably 50-50 at the moment and we’ll continue to monitor him.”

Midfielder Matt Smith is still some weeks off a return after the summer signing from Arsenal underwent hernia surgery last month.