Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has rebuffed claims the pitch at the DW Stadium caused Aston Villa striker Darren Bent’s season-ending injury.
The 28-year-old ruptured his ankle ligaments during Villa’s goalless draw against the Premier League basement club last Saturday and now faces at least three months out, possibly ruling him out of Euro 2012.
But Martinez has slammed the accusations, insisting the pitch, which is shared with rugby league side Wigan Warriors, had no impact on Bent's injury.
He told the Mirror: “It is cheap to say the pitch was the reason for the injury.
“It was not an injury caused by the pitch. His ankle got caught under his body and that was the problem.
The claims stem from post-match comments by Villa boss Alex McLeish, insisting the poor nature of the playing surface was a key factor in the England striker doing damage to himself.
"The pitch was very heavy because of the rugby,” he said. “It sapped the energy from a lot of players and Darren has been unlucky to go into one of the pieces of turf that has been dug up.”
The 28-year-old’s absence is a huge blow for 15th-placed Villa, who travel to Lancashire again this weekend to face fellow relegation strugglers Blackburn Rovers.