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Page last updated at 18:35 GMT, Saturday, 23 October 2010 19:35 UK

Wigan boss rocked by James McCarthy injury

James McCarthy
James McCarthy lies injured following Fabrice Muamba's tackle

Wigan are anxiously awaiting an injury update on midfielder James McCarthy after he was stretchered off midway through the 1-1 draw with Bolton.

He was left writhing in agony after being clattered from behind by Fabrice Muamba and has had an ankle X-ray.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said: "He's gone to hospital and we'll get the results over the next 24 hours but it doesn't look too good.

"It's a real shame, because he's been performing in a very special manner."

McCarthy's misfortune largely overshadowed the afternoon, which ended with honours even when Hugo Rodallega's opener for Wigan, scored just before the hour, was cancelled out seven minutes later by Johan Elmander.

The injury occurred after McCarthy, who has featured in all of Wigan's games this season, was sold short by a poor ball out of defence from skipper Antolin Alcaraz.

The pass left the 19-year-old with Muamba breathing down his neck and the Bolton midfielder's challenge - which was clumsy rather than malicious - left the teenager writhing in obvious discomfort for several minutes.

Martinez was unhappy about the challenge but he refused to blame Muamba, who was not cautioned by referee Howard Webb.

"When you look at the replay, he clearly gets his ankle first," said Martinez. "It's disappointing, it's from behind but the intent is to play the ball."

If anything, the Spaniard seemed more distressed by Alcaraz's pass.

"It's a difficult ball for a midfielder, it's a straight ball," he added. "It's one of those actions when you're sending your team-mate into the lion's den.

"But McCarthy is young and he's very, very fit. We hope it's not as bad as it looks."

Bolton boss Owen Coyle, who observed McCarthy come through the youth ranks at former club Hamilton, shared his Wigan counterpart's concern.

Coyle stated: "My thoughts are to make sure he's OK, because I've known him as a young kid progressing all the way through in Scotland to where he is now and there's no doubt he's destined for a glittering career.

"Hopefully he's back very soon. Certainly from my position it looked an innocuous challenge. They both went to shut the ball."

However, the Bolton manager was unhappy about an incident in the build-up to Wigan's opener, when Franco Di Santo appeared to stray offside before playing Rodallega through.

"We went behind to a goal that was clearly two yards offside," Coyle commented.

"I felt that in real time, I've seen it again and when Di Santo picks the ball up he's two yards offside. He's not even close.

"It would have been easy at that stage to feel sorry for ourselves having put so much into the game in the early part but this group of players, the spirit they have and the belief that they have, picked themselves up and really pushed on.

"We got a deserved equaliser and in the last part of the game both teams went all out to try to win the game."

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see also
Wigan 1-1 Bolton
23 Oct 10 |  Premier League
Saturday football as it happened
23 Oct 10 |  Football
Saturday's football photos
23 Oct 10 |  Football


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