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By ESPN Staff

Hutchings plays down Heskey transfer speculation

Wigan manager Chris Hutchings has fended off transfer speculation surrounding Emile Heskey - despite the striker facing another six weeks on the sidelines through injury.

Heskey's recent re-emergence for England has led to the suggestion he will become a target when the transfer window opens in January.

Newcastle are understood to be interested, but Hutchings said: 'I haven't heard anything about Emile being linked with other clubs.

'But with the way he played leading up to his injury, it is not a surprise big clubs are being linked with him.

'It's unfortunate he's going to be out of action for the length of time he is, as Emile is a major part of what we do.'

Heskey had surgery nine days ago to insert a pin into his right foot after sustaining a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal.

The 29-year-old is currently undergoing light exercise as he builds towards a possible return in early November.

'Emile is doing some weights and exercise in the gym, and possibly by the end of the week he will be able to do slight weight-bearing work,' Hutchings told the Wigan Evening Post.

'It's just a matter of time and letting the injury settle down.

'Next week he might be able to step up and do some swimming, but we're in the hands of the medical people.

'Fortunately, Emile is not in a plaster cast. He has a protective boot which he can take off at night.'