Steve Bruce, the Wigan Athletic manager, has admitted he may have to be pragmatic in his team selection for Saturday's trip to Chelsea. After the visit to Stamford Bridge the Latics have a home match against West Ham – currently just two points behind in the table – and then travel to Sunderland within the space of three days.
Bruce believes it makes no sense to risk players against Guus Hiddink's third-placed side when there are more important battles to fight. After three successive 0-0 draws, goals are at a premium for Wigan with the on-loan Amr Zaki out of form and January signing Hugo Rodallega still finding his feet. On-loan striker Mido has been struggling with a groin problem which has troubled him for 18 months and he limped out of the game early against Fulham on 7 February.
Bruce admits he may have to hold back the Egypt international. "Mido is an option for Saturday, although I'm also going to look at the fact we've got two games in five days," he said. "The last time we were in this situation, he didn't quite manage it. Since the Fulham game, we have got him in good shape and we'll see. It might be too much asking him to play Saturday and Wednesday. That might sound ridiculous to some, and I can understand them thinking that. But you've got to bear in mind the intensity at which these players have to play at.
"Would you ask an athlete, even without all the bumps and bruises you pick up in football, to run to such a high level twice in a few days?"