Owen Coyle is hopeful Marc-Antoine Fortune could return from injury this weekend when Latics head to Vicarage Road to take on Gianfranco Zola’s Watford.
The French forward had to sit out last weekend’s Championship victory over Ipswich Town at the DW Stadium, but with a couple of players still unavailable for Coyle, the Manager is hoping the 32-year-old will feature:
“The good news regarding injuries is concerning Marc-Antoine Fortune, who failed a late fitness test before the Ipswich game, but who we’re hopeful will be able to make it for this weekend.
“Shaun Maloney will see a specialist before the game to get to the bottom of the back injury he sustained on international duty, and it means he won’t make the game.
“Grant Holt was desperate to be back for this one, but it’s come too soon for home and I don’t think he’ll be able to make it either, but his recovery has been fantastic.
“In an ideal world we would have everyone fit and available, but football doesn’t work that way so we don’t moan about things, we just get on with it, work hard and make sure when players are available again that they’ve got to work hard to get back in the team.”
As fixtures begin to mount up once again for Latics, on the back of Capital One Cup commitments and with a home Europa League match against Maribor next week on the horizon, Coyle is looking to rotate once again this weekend after making nine changes for the trip to the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night:
“We all know it’s a very busy part of the season, so it was a big positive to come through the Manchester City game in midweek injury-free.
“We’ve got a tough game coming up this weekend which we’ll look to freshen up for, but on the back of a fantastic result against Ipswich Town last weekend we go to Vicarage Road with the intention of taking all three points.
“We’ve shown at different stages of the season so far that we’re more than capable of producing match-winning performances against the division’s other top teams.
“Following on from the Ipswich game we want to be a threat going forward and keep shutting out the opposition at the back as we also did in Belgium.
“So far this season we’ve been terrific at the DW Stadium, and on the opening day showed we can go away from home, keep clean sheets and win games.
“We want to get back to those levels, but everyone is going to have to play to their maximum to achieve it. The players know that but they’re up for the challenge, and whilst we are still a young group the attitude every day has been fantastic which will help as we progress.”