Mixed news for Wigan
Paul Scharner is struggling to be fit for Wigan's season opener, but Chris Kirkland should be available.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 13/08/08 2:18pm
Paul Scharner is struggling to be fit for the opening game of the new Premier League campaign at West Ham United, but Chris Kirkland should be available.
Versatile defender Scharner sustained an ankle injury in the 6-0 pre-season win at Barnsley a fortnight ago.
Latics assistant manager Eric Black has revealed the Austrian is 'touch and go' for Saturday's fixture, but confirmed Kirkland is on course to play.
Black told the Evening Post: "Unfortunately, Paul is still struggling and hasn't started full training yet. He did some straight-line running on Monday but, with an ankle injury, that's not too much of a problem to do.
"It's once you start changing direction and turning that the tendons and ligaments take more pressure on them.
"I think it's touch and go with him but we'll give Paul every chance to prove his fitness ahead of the game.
"If he doesn't make it, we've got Titus Bramble who came in and worked exceptionally hard in pre-season.
"Titus has shown without doubt he is a Premier League centre-back, and I'm sure the manager won't have any hesitation in throwing him in. He has played all of the friendlies and done well.
"Chris Kirkland is fine, he's responded well to treatment and has been training without any problems for the past couple of days."
On the fitness of striker Emile Heskey, midfielder Jason Koumas and defender Ryan Taylor, Black added: "Emile still has a bit of tightness in the groin area but he'll hopefully be okay to start training again tomorrow.
"With regard to our other injuries, Jason Koumas started training again with the squad yesterday after a problem with his knee. He trained for three days with the fitness coach first and then joined up with the rest of us, which we're delighted about.
"Ryan Taylor has still got a problem with his shin but he's doing work with the physios."