Chey Dunkley has added to Wigan Athletic’s injury nightmare after being forced to undergo surgery to cure a knee problem.
The big centre-back had been struggling to play through the pain barrier, and the decision was taken to correct the problem, which will rule out until the festive period.
With star man Nick Powell battling tendinitis, and skipper Sam Morsy serving a one-match ban, boss Paul Cook is down to the bare bones for this weekend’s trip to Middlesbrough.
Despite three defeats on the spin, Cook still feels the glass is half-full.
“As a club, we still feel we’re doing okay,” he said.
“We’d love to do more, don’t get me wrong, but we’re doing okay, in the midst of other problems we’ve got going on.
“But Chey’s had an operation on his knee, Nick’s been out...
“When you put that with the other injuries we’ve got, and take into account the calibre of teams we’re playing, sometimes you’ve just got to be careful with how much you heighten your problems in pursuit of being successful.
“The key for me is keeping the lads focused, believing in what they’re doing.
“At the start of the season, the aim was to retain our status in this division.
“For me, that hasn’t changed – albeit we have to improve the away form.
“We know we’re in choppy waters – we don’t need reminding of that every five minutes.
“We know we’re going to one of the toughest grounds in the division this weekend, against a very strong team.
“The most important thing is to put in a performance that will have those Wigan fans who travel clapping us off a the end.
“That’s everything to me, because you can’t kid supporters.
“If every one of our lads gives it everything, and they get clapped off, everything else falls into place.”