Wednesday 22 November 2017

Horror Gardner tackle caps off dire encounter


John Curtis

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez condemned Birmingham midfielder Craig Gardner's foul on Franco Di Santo and raised fears the Latics striker may have suffered ankle ligament damage.

Gardner went in on Di Santo with a foot raised in the final minute of a woeful goalless draw at St Andrew's and was given a straight red card by referee Mark Clattenburg.

Birmingham's four-goal leading scorer will have to serve a three-match ban, but Di Santo could be out for longer if scans show serious damage. Martinez had a brief chance to assess the damage, and explained it could be a bad blow.

"I've just seen Franco Di Santo's leg and that's my worry. We have to see the extent of that injury," he said. "He has a couple of nasty cuts and by that you can see the challenge was really high.

"The referee had a clear view and was on top of the incident and my worry is the extent of the injury. The cut swelled up straight away and there could be a bit of ligament damage in his ankle, which is the worry.

"From where I was, Gardner's leading foot was really high and he gets the ball with the second foot. Nowadays you can't go into a challenge like that with your feet high."

Birmingham are now unbeaten in 18 top-flight home games, equalling their best ever run, a fact that pleased their manager Alex McLeish. "I am proud of the record. There was a lot of pressure on us today due to the media coverage of the record.

"I felt it could be one of those occasion where people were waiting for you to end up with egg on your face. I am sure there were a lot of people predicting we would lose the record just because of all the hype but it was something we couldn't avoid and I told the players that."

Sunday Independent

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