Wigan Athletic will be without Alex Gilbey and Reece James for the FA Cup fourth round trip to Manchester United despite both returning from long-term injuries this week. Both players featured in a reserve-team friendly against Barnsley on Tuesday [24 January] following long-term fitness problems but neither is available for the visit to Old Trafford.
Gilbey played for an hour against The Tykes after four months out with an ankle issue, while James came through 45 minutes a year on from his last outing for the club against Chesterfield having suffered from ankle ligament damage. However, despite their return both players are unavailable for the trip to the EFL Cup finalists.
Yanic Wildschut has not trained this week having missed the Championship win at Brentford and will be assessed before his fitness is determined for the clash at United. Manager Warren Joyce is unperturbed by the loss of the trio however, with his side having recorded three wins on the spin.
"It's too soon for them," former United coach Joyce told reporters, according to Wigan's official YouTube channel. "They've been out for a lengthy period good to see them come through relatively unscathed. They both did ok as well so that was good for the club and the lads particularly. [Wildschut] he's not trained so far this week so we'll just assess him to see what goes on there."
Joyce returns to United just two months on from moving to Wigan, following eight years managing the club's reserve side. The 52-year-old worked with many of the players who he will come against this weekend but he is unwilling to be intimidated by the prospect of taking on the record 12-time winners.
"They've got two arms and two legs like everybody else," he added. "I know that is how you approach it that is how you speak to the young players at the club when you were there to take the place of world-class superstars. You've got to approach it with respect but also no respect. If you think you're capable in a one vs one battle on the pitch where there is no hiding place you pit yourself against them, and that is how you approach the game."