Habsi makes winning comeback for Wigan
Habsi, who was on the bench for last week's fixture against Sheffield Wednesday, was given his first full game by coach Uwe Rosler, and the Omani came up with a solid display in the team's win that helped Wigan climb two places to 12th in the Championship table.
It was the first appearance of the season for Habsi, who was sidelined by a shoulder injury since May that made him undergo a surgery.
Speaking to Muscat Daily after the game from London, Habsi said, “I am very happy with the result. It is fantastic to be back - it is a great feeling. I am glad to be back in there with the team after being out of the picture for so long.”
The 31 year old keeper added, “It has been 220 days since I last played a game for Wigan. The rest and recovery have been good and I am happy with how my shoulder has reacted over the past one week. It was great to play for 90 minutes for the development squad last Monday, and to then make it to the bench against Sheffield Wednesday was fantastic.”
Wigan's match against Sheffield Wednesday was abandoned after an hour's play - with the former 1-0 up - due to a waterlogged ground at Hillsborough.
Habsi said that the absence from football had been a 'testing time' for him. “But my family and friends, my club and my fans helped me get through this period. I am grateful to them.”
Habsi, who had been Wigan's undisputed first-choice keeper virtually from the day he joined from Bolton Wanderers in 2010, said he received good support on the training ground over the past six months from fellow goalies, goalkeeping staff and physios.
“It has been so difficult because it has been the first really serious injury in my career in 12 years of football. But I am back now and I am raring to go. I am hoping to come back better than before, I certainly feel stronger and fitter,” said Habsi.
“It is great to play for Wigan today and win the match. The feeing of playing matches is just terrific - I am looking forward for more.”
After the game, Wigan coach Rosler admitted on the Latics' official website that 'it was a gamble' to bring in the Omani international following his shoulder surgery, but he was pleased to see him come through the test as he had expected.
Rosler said, “Ali was a late call-up [replacing Scott Carson] and hasn’t had enough match time since coming back from such a serious injury. So, it was a bit of a gamble to put him in, but I know he has the experience and quality that would guide him through a game like this.
“Ali's sharpness has been getting better and better in training and his timing was very good today, in knowing when to come off the line. So I thought he produced a good performance.”
Saturday's victory helped Wigan post back-to-back league victories for the first time this season, having beaten Bolton 3-2 in its previous outing on December 15.