Boyata back as Riley hit by Wanderers' defensive curse
DEDRYCK Boyata is ready to answer an emergency call from Owen Coyle as the right-back jinx struck again at Wanderers yesterday.
The Belgian defender is set to come back ahead of schedule and feature against Everton on Saturday after Joe Riley was struck down with a hamstring injury.
On-loan Boyata had been back with Manchester City for treatment on an ankle problem but rejected the chance to stay at Carrington for another week in order to return to Wanderers and stake his claim.
He will now aim to prove his fitness to Coyle in the next 48 hours and plug the gap vacated by Riley, who is now a major doubt after pulling out of training on Monday afternoon.
The 20-year-old is bound to be bitterly disappointed to have his place in doubt after securing a starting place ahead of Gretar Steinsson for the last two games.
He impressed on debut against Stoke City but found the going harder against West Brom at the Hawthorns, against the Baggies’ in-form winger Jerome Thomas.
Boyata has been sidelined since straining ankle ligaments during the 2-0 home defeat by Sunderland on October 22.
He was not expected to be back in contention until next week, and Wanderers’ visit to White Hart Lane, but Coyle has confirmed the youngster is in the running to face the Toffees.
“Dedryck is definitely on way back,” he said. “I don't know if Everton game will be too quick. But we are hoping he's back training with us at full capacity by the end of the week.”
After a relatively slow start to his Wanderers career, Boyata had been looking more comfortable at Wanderers before he was struck down with injury.
And Coyle believes that factor has been a driving force in his bid for an early comeback.
“We all saw prior to his injury how much he was coming on,” he said. “He is destined for a big career and it will be great to get him back.
“The initial diagnosis was six to eight weeks. He is desperate to get involved and to play.”
Wanderers have suffered some horrendous luck with injuries in the last 12 months, but no position has been more affected than the right side of defence.
Riley becomes the latest in a long line of full-backs to be relegated to the sidelines, in a run that started with Sam Ricketts rupturing his Achilles tendon back in February.
Gretar Steinsson suffered knee problems last season, while Tyrone Mears broke his leg in training just a few weeks after signing for the club from Burnley.
Boyata has spent five weeks out with ankle ligament damage, but now appears close to a return, with Ricketts also back in training and due to feature for John Henry’s reserves in the near future.