Illness hits Latics

By Derek DavisChief Football WriterTWO more Wigan players have been laid low by a flu virus forcing six of their first team squad to miss training yesterday.

By Derek Davis

Chief Football Writer

TWO more Wigan players have been laid low by a flu virus forcing six of their first team squad to miss training yesterday.

The EADT understands that top scorer Nathan Ellington is the latest player to be affected and is a major doubt to play.

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Wigan are already looking to plug the gap and Latics boss Paul Jewell has made two separate bids for players, with Reading's Nicky Forster understood to be one of them.

Meanwhile, Jewell would not reveal who the new duo hit by the bug are and was confident his squad could cope anyway.

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Leading scorer Ellington, with 16 goals, was joined by fellow striker David Graham on the sick list which was already made up of Alan Mahon, Jimmy Bullard, Gary Teale and Jason Roberts.

Jewell said: “We had 10 training yesterday, a few of the lads are struggling with this flu bug so we'll have to assess the situation.

“It's not ideal but I'm sure come tomorrow we will be able to put a decent team out and we aren't going to use this as an excuse.

“Hopefully we'll have more on the pitch than not and while this is something we could have done without, Ipswich could have done without De Vos and Scowcroft being suspended.

“Whatever two sides are put out, it should be a great game and both sets of fans will be looking forward to it.”

Like his counterpart Joe Royle, Jewell was playing down the significance of the result, if not the actual game.

He said: “If you'd offered all three of us (including Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy) this position before a ball was kicked, we'd all have taken it.

“Although this is an important game for both ourselves and Ipswich, it's not a six-pointer because there are too many games left after this.

“If we win we go three points clear of them, if we lose we're three points behind, so whatever happens it's not a decider of any sort.

“I think it will go right down to the wire.”

Wigan missed out on a play-off place by a whisker last season after defeat on the last day of the regular season and Jewell feels Ipswich benefited from making the post-season games.

He said: “Ipswich are a good side and have used getting to the play-offs last season as a springboard for a promotion push this time.

“They've got some excellent young players who have come through their Academy, added people like De Vos and Kuqi, while Naylor, Wilnis, Magilton, Horlock and Miller have all had Premiership experience.

“They lost two games on the bounce, both at home where they're normally very strong, but that happens in football.

“Very rarely do you go through a season without a blip, it happens to the very best, as Chelsea will tell you.”

Alan Mahon joined in training yesterday and has an outside chance of making the final Wigan 16.

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