Sky Bet Championship: Wigan boss Malky Mackay reveals Grant Holt faces a year out
Last Updated: 31/12/14 7:02am
Wigan's loss to Sheffield Wednesday at the DW Stadium was overshadowed by the news returning striker Grant Holt faces up to a year on the sidelines with a suspected cruciate knee ligament injury.
The 10-man Latics were beaten 1-0 by the Owls in their final game of 2014 and will begin the new calendar year in the Sky Bet Championship's bottom three.
Their failings in front of goal were all too evident in a third straight home loss and Malky Mackay had hoped Holt, who was sent on loan to Huddersfield after falling out with previous boss Uwe Rosler, could remedy some of their problems in attack.
However, Mackay revealed the 33-year-old would be unable to spearhead any possible Wigan revival after suffering a serious injury in his final loan game with the Terriers at Rotherham on Boxing Day.
"We scanned his injury late last night and it's pretty devastating, he's going to be out for nine to 12 months with a knee injury," Mackay said.
"He's devastated and we are for him.
"He came off on Saturday after a pretty innocuous challenge. He limped off. We scanned it and spoke to a specialist and it was confirmed.
"We spoke to him this morning and he's got a knee injury that's going to keep him out for nine to 12 months.
"There's a good chance it's cruciates.
"He was going to be one who was going to come in and I'm pretty sure he'd have finished something tonight, I really do. He's an experienced striker and he would have been a good one for us to come in."
The bleak news on Holt rounded off a miserable evening for Latics, who saw Atdhe Nuhiu grab a winner for Wednesday 13 minutes from time.
The towering Austrian striker's header settled a dire contest, which burst into life when substitute Callum McManaman earned the second red card of his career in the 68th minute, just nine minutes after arriving on the pitch.
The 23-year-old, who came in for widespread criticism for a wild studs-up challenge on Newcastle's Massadio Haidara in 2013, received his marching orders for a two-footed lunge on fellow replacement Claude Dielna.
Mackay, who also confirmed Honduras international Roger Espinoza had played his last game for the club ahead of a return to Major League Soccer, had no complaints about the dismissal, adding: "There's no issues at all, he hardly actually catches him but it's the fact it's two footed at the ball.
"It looks worse than it is. Ninety per cent of what he does is get the ball, but it's a sending off."
Owls manager Stuart Gray admitted McManaman's moment of madness greatly assisted his men and he was happy to leave the DW Stadium with all three points after missing a penalty in a loss at the same venue last season.
"We played them not so long ago at our place and got the three points but last season we didn't take a point," said Gray.
"Last season we were unlucky not to get anything here regarding the penalty miss and the keeper staying on the pitch.
"I think the sending off was the right decision, the boy's off the ground with two feet and it's a dangerous tackle. That's obviously helped us, it opened the game up."