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By ESPN Staff

Kirkland still in running for Stoke start

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is refusing to rule goalkeeper Chris Kirkland out of Saturday's Premier League clash at Stoke.

Kirkland was forced off midway through the first half of the 3-2 defeat to Birmingham at the DW Stadium at the weekend with a recurrence of a back spasm, and Martinez remains optimistic that he may recover in time.

"The good thing is he has reacted very well," said Martinez. "The doctor and the medical staff know Chris' back well, as of course does Chris. In that respect, we know exactly what we are dealing with, and we'll try to do everything we can to have him ready.

"We'll just have to see. Normally these things take a little bit of time, but you can never rule Chris out. What we have to do is not put any added pressure on Chris, let him recover naturally and see what happens.''

If Kirkland is sidelined, Martinez will turn to either Mike Pollitt - who conceded three goals in 11 second-half minutes against the Blues - or Ghana's Richard Kingson.

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