Kirkland upbeat despite latest injury setback
Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has refused to let his latest injury problem affect his confidence, despite being ruled out for around six weeks with a finger complaint.
Kirkland, whose career has been plagued by fitness worries, will undergo surgery on a torn finger ligament after a training ground accident and could be out of action until April.
The former Liverpool stopper was forced to pull out of the England squad last week with a niggling shoulder injury, allowing Ben Foster to press his claims as Paul Robinson's number two, but this setback is much more serious.
But, although the 25-year-old will be out for over a month in what is fast becoming a relegation dogfight for the Latics, he has defended his recent appearance record.
He told the club's official website: 'I'm not going to get down about it, that's for sure.
'I'm viewing this as a minor setback and just one of those strange injuries that happen from time to time.
'I have been ever present so far this season which will obviously stop now, but I have had a good run and in myself I feel fitter now than I have for several seasons.'
Latics boss Paul Jewell, meanwhile, reiterated his support for the keeper, insisting that he could be better than both Foster and Robinson.
He said: 'Chris has been a revelation since coming here, he has been magnificent.
'He has a tremendous presence in the box and I stand by my comments that he is potentially the best English goalkeeper in the country.
'We all wish him a very speedy recovery and hope to have him back soon.'
Wigan physio Alan Tomlinson confirmed the details of Kirkland's latest injury, insisting it was bad luck instead of a sign that the player is injury prone.
'This is a completely new injury for Chris, it could have happened to any goalkeeper. But he is taking it in good heart and I've no doubt he'll be back as soon as he can.
'I don't like to put time scales in place because it can vary depending upon how quickly the injury heals.
'That said, it is a pretty straightforward procedure and I would envisage he will be playing within six weeks.'