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Tootle's 'slug' goal celebration

The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Hutchings searching for Baines replacement

Wigan manager Chris Hutchings is stepping up his search for a new left-back to fill the huge void left by Leighton Baines' summer switch to Everton.

A move for West Brom's Paul Robinson collapsed at the start of the month and Hutchings has now widened the net in a bid to secure a replacement before the transfer window closes.

He explained: 'We were after Robbo but the situation was that West Brom didn't want to change the goalposts regarding the reports we had on the medical side, so that has fallen flat.

'Unless they want to change it then we won't be going down that line, we've got to move on.'

Kevin Kilbane started the season at Everton on Saturday in the position made vacant by Baines' big money move to Merseyside.

And while Hutchings has every faith in Kilbane's ability to continue doing the job against Middlesbrough at the JJB Stadium tomorrow night, he wants to bring in a specialist with Preston's Matt Hill and Scunthorpe's Marcus Williams among his reported targets.

He added: 'I have got every confidence in Kevin playing in that position and while he's there there's not a problem, but it's something we need to address and we are trying to do that.

'We feel we have matters in hand at the moment and it's something we need to get sorted out sooner rather than later.

'We are looking at other full-backs. There has been a lot of speculation in the press regarding who we are looking at but any left-back of a decent quality we are going to be linked with.'

While Hutchings looks to put the finishing touches to his defence, the return to fitness of Henri Camara means that he is spoiled for choice in striking options for his first home game in charge against Boro.

Camara has recovered from the knee injury which wrecked the second half of last season for the Senegal international.

Ligament damage in December restricted Camara to just two starts in the final five months of the season, when he failed to score.

Before that the 30-year-old had netted 18 Premier League goals in a season-and-a-half and his return - probably via the bench - is a major bonus for Hutchings, who may also pick Antoine Sibierski from the start after his goalscoring debut as a substitute in Saturday's 2-1 defeat Everton.

Hutchings said: 'Antoine is a lot fitter now. He played 45 minutes at Leeds and came on for 25 minutes at Everton so I have got a nice little problem of who I want to play there.

'We have got (Julius) Aghahowa as well. It's always a nice problem and I don't think you can have enough strikers. They are the ones who win you games.

'We are normally quite organised and quite hard to breakdown so it's the strikers who have that bit of flair and produce something out of nothing that wins you the game.'

Wigan and Middlesbrough will both be looking for their first points of the season with Boro, defeat by Blackburn in their curtain-raiser, heading for the north-west beset by defensive injury problems.

The Teessiders also have limited options up front while manager Gareth Southgate tries to complete a deal for Tottenham striker Mido.

'I don't know about a good time (to play them),' added Hutchings. 'On the back of a defeat they will be fired up and they have got something to prove.

'They have got some good players. They have got Downing, Yakubu and Arca who can all cause problems.

'We are just making sure we have our house in order and if we do that hopefully we'll get a result. It's important to have a good start at home.'

It's also a key time for Hutchings as he looks to make his mark following the departure of Paul Jewell and Jewell's former number-two is thinking positively of a position in the top half of the table.

'That's our aim. You always want to have targets. You have got to reach for the stars and hope you get there,' he said.

Hutchings could hand home debuts to four players but summer signing Michael Brown is still suspended and Emmerson Boyce and Ryan Taylor miss out through injury.