Jones Back But Isgrove Suffers Injury Blow

Gethin Jones will make a welcome return to action at Wigan but the luckless Lloyd Isgrove is set for another lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury.

Jones hasn’t figured since the end of February due to a period of compassionate leave.

But after returning to training at the start of the international break, the right-sided defender and Wanderers’ vice-captain will return for Saturday’s derby clash at the DW Stadium.

“We’ve missed him. He’s a huge part of what we’re doing,” said Whites’ boss Ian Evatt.

“He’s a fantastic character, a big part of the dressing room and a wonderful player who’s got a very good record when he starts games for us, so we’re grateful to have him back.”

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Jones - whose return from injury in January had seen him start eight successive league wins before defeat at MK Dons in his last appearance - played for more than an hour for the Reserves last week to add to his fitness levels.

That game also marked Isgrove’s comeback after four months out with a hamstring injury.

However, the wideman suffered a recurrence of the problem and now faces a similar spell out in a cruel stroke of fortune.

“Post-op, the surgeon said there’s less than a five per cent chance of re-injury and that’s unfortunately happened,” confirmed Evatt.

"It shows the harsh realities of football when he's worked his socks off to get back fit.

“He needs all the love and support we can give him and he will get that. Obviously, the fans can play their part with that, as well.

“He’s going to go through a challenging time – mentally – but we’re all here for him and I have no doubt he’ll come out the other side.”

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Kieran Lee, meanwhile, is closing in on a return following the operation on a heel injury which has kept him out for eight games.

The trip to second-placed Wigan will come too soon for the midfielder but Wanderers still look far stronger than when losing 4-0 at home to the Latics in October.

Lee and Jones were among those missing that day and having significantly strengthened in January, the Whites still have an outside chance of a play-off finish as they head into a key week of games against Wigan and top-10 outfits Portsmouth and Sheffield Wednesday.

“These are the types of games we want to be involved in,” added Evatt, whose side has lost only three times since mid-January.

“We want to have these games to have a go at.

“We’re still in with a shout. It’s a very small shout, but we’ve still got one.

“We have to try and win all seven games and that starts on Saturday.”

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