Belfast Telegraph

Alcaraz boost for Latics

Wigan defender Antolin Alcaraz has been cleared of serious injury but remains doubtful for this weekend's Barclays Premier League clash against Chelsea.

The Paraguay international, on his return from suspension, was forced off during the second half of last weekend's win at West Brom with a rib injury. The 29-year-old has not broken a bone, as manager Roberto Martinez initially feared, but he still faces fitness tests ahead of the Londoners' Saturday evening visit to the DW Stadium.

Martinez: "The first reaction was very positive. We had the X-ray back from the hospital and it is not a fractured rib, which was our first concern. But it is too early to call if he will be fit for Saturday or not - the swelling is still there."

Alcaraz could be replaced by Emmerson Boyce, who has not featured for six weeks but is now close to match fitness.

Another player coming back into contention is former England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.

The 30-year-old's recent loan spell at Doncaster was cut short by a back problem from which he has now recovered.

Martinez said: "He has been training really well since he came back from his loan spell at Doncaster.

"It is a matter of him challenging for a position and he is starting to do that, so it is a positive."

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