Bug puts Mahon in a stew

ALAN Mahon is hoping a good helping of his grandmother's special chicken stew will get him on his feet in time to meet his old club Ipswich on Saturday, writes Derek Davis.

ALAN Mahon is hoping a good helping of his grandmother's special chicken stew will get him on his feet in time to meet his old club Ipswich on Saturday, writes Derek Davis.

The Irishman has been struggling with a knee injury and now, along with some of his team-mates, has gone down with a virus.

Gary Teale, Jimmy Bullard and Jason Roberts missed training earlier this week after going down with a virus. Mahon, who admits to still having a soft spot for Ipswich after the winger enjoyed a loan spell with the Blues from Blackburn last season, is confident of playing and has the dream scenario worked out.

He said: “Hopefully I will be fit and we will win 2-1 with me scoring the winner after getting an own goal earlier.”

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Midfielder Mahon has missed the past two games after his knee swelled up following the 5-1 win over Leeds United and while he feels he can play on it, he first needs to get over a chest infection.

Mahon last night told the EADT: “A few of the lads have gone down with it and I'm feeling it. I have got my grandmother's old recipe for chicken soup, which has a secret ingredient in it and I'm sure that will do the trick.”

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While at Ipswich, Mahon used another of her traditional Irish cures to help heal a hamstring injury with brown paper and vinegar. It worked and Mahon scored the winner at Bradford City.

But nothing has helped in steadying nerves and the Republic of Ireland winger admitted Wigan suffered the jitters after roaring to the top of the table and staying there until Ipswich toppled them in December.

He said: “We lost our nerve a bit but we have come through it. We have had our blip but we are back on top. Sunderland have had their blip too while Ipswich are probably having theirs now.

“We saw Ipswich pulling away and wondered if they could keep it going. I know what sort of lads they have there and the quality that is in the team so I know they won't give up easily.”

Mahon, who was enjoying a rich vein of form before getting injured, has scored seven times this season, including a screamer against Leeds recently. He warned Wigan were looking for a good response after their surprise defeat at Gillingham on Saturday.

He said: “This is easily the biggest game of the season for us. We were beaten at Gillingham when we should have won and everyone will be looking for a response.

“It is a massive game for both teams but as others have said, it won't decide promotion or anything.

“What it will do is give the winners a huge psychological boost.”

Mahon was constantly linked with a return to Ipswich, where he still owns a property, but denies it came close to happening, even though he would have liked it too.

He said: “I made my feelings about Ipswich very clear and at one time hoped something could have been sorted.

“I heard all sorts of things but nothing was ever said officially. At the time I don't think Ipswich were in a position to do anything whereas Wigan took a chance on me.

“That move has paid off for me and the club.

“I'm in the best scoring form of my career and I'm really happy here.”

Latics boss Paul Jewell is playing down Mahon's chances of being fit for Saturday as the swollen knee has been diagnosed as a cyst inside the back of the knee.

Jewell said: “Mahon's knee swelled up after the Leeds game and the medical people were going to drain the cyst but have now decided not to.

“Unfortunately he's picked up this virus too so I wouldn't have thought he will be ready for Saturday.

“Unfortunately we have also got an illness in the camp, with four of the lads coughing and spluttering.”

Bullard will be anxious to play, as the Ipswich game would be his 99th consecutive league start for the Latics.

The Latics have also been linked with Reading striker Nicky Forster as they seek to add cover to their squad for a final promotion push. Forster is out of contract with the Royals at the end of the season and won't be offered a new deal at the Madejski Stadium, so he would only cost Latics a small fee.

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