Roberto Martinez admitted that captain Gary Caldwell is a big doubt for Saturday’s Barclays Premier League match against Reading at the DW Stadium after the midfielder picked up an injury in last weekend’s defeat against Liverpool.
With Ben Watson also ruled out for a considerable amount of time after fracturing his shin in the same match as well as Antolin Alcaraz (groin), Albert Crusat (knee) and James McArthur (dead leg), the Gaffer admitted it’s a tough time in the campaign for his squad to cope with but that absentees also present an opportunity for others to make a name for themselves.
Martinez said: “I don’t think Gary will be available for this weekend’s game with the hamstring injury picked up at Anfield, but hopefully his absence will only be a short one.
“James McArthur is still perhaps a week or so away from full fitness as well, which makes it the worst moment of the season for us in terms of injuries, but of course at the same time it opens up opportunities for other players who have been working hard for a chance in the team.
“Naturally you want to move on from a disappointing result but it’s hard when you have negative notes with you like the injuries suffered by Gary and Ben Watson.
“Of course we send our best wishes to Ben in his recovery; his leg is in plaster and hopefully it will be a case of weeks rather than months before he can return.”
The Spaniard previewed the game by pointing out the strengths of Brian McDermott’s team and why the fixture will always hold special significance to him personally, saying:
“It’s easy to see the achievements of Brian McDermott during his time in charge of Reading, the change in fortunes of the club has been incredible.
“It’s a club that brings great memories for me as they were the last time I played against in a Wigan Athletic shirt, and now I get to take charge as manager against a team who are perhaps in their best moment of the campaign after last weekend’s victory over Everton.
“From our point of view we’re trying to get everyone fit and healthy after the little knocks and niggles picked up against Everton, and ready for another big test at our DW Stadium.
“For the way they play and the quality they have their biggest strength is their confidence and the winning mentality they had last season in the Championship.
“Their work ethic is incredible and although last week was their first win of the campaign believe me when I say that they’ve come very close to three points long before that game.”