Wigan manager Roberto Martinez could throw new signing Adrian Lopez in for a dramatic debut against Newcastle.
The 23-year-old Spaniard has finally joined the Latics from Deportivo La Coruna after a protracted saga that required the intervention of FIFA, and looks set to be rushed into an injury-hit Wigan squad.
With James McCarthy, Victor Moses, Emmerson Boyce and Franco di Santo on the sidelines, Wigan could have done without Charles N’Zogbia being sent off against Arsenal in midweek and the three-match ban that goes with it.
But Martinez is delighted at being able to bring a player of Lopez’s undoubted quality into the squad.
“Adrian has been training with us for a while now waiting for the paperwork to clear,” Martinez said.
“He’s an under-21 international with Spain, which has given him a great education in the game and as a defender he’s technically very gifted and desperate to play for Wigan Athletic.”
“It’s great to have him on board and we’ll see how soon he can adapt to the English game.”
“As a defender, getting used to the directness of the English game is the biggest obstacle as well as the physical element of the Premier League.”
“We’ll make sure he’s given the right preparation, the players have welcomed him to the club really well and we’re all excited at the knowledge he can bring to the club.”
Jordi Gomez is standing by to replace N’Zogbia on the right-hand side of the midfield, which should be the only change from the 2-2 draw with the Gunners that extended Wigan’s unbeaten home record to six matches.
“Charles is out for three games now and so we’re going to try and use this time to refresh his body and make he’s ready for the period after,” Martinez added.
“Now is the time to find solutions to that, hand great opportunities to other players and concentrate on the game ahead of us.”