Roberto Martinez has two injury concerns ahead of this weekend’s game against Manchester United at Old Trafford, with Jean Beausejour doubtful with a hamstring injury and Antolin Alcaraz picking up a groin knock whilst on international duty.
Reflecting on mixed feeling following the international break, Martinez said:
“This period can be used in a number of ways; on the one hand we’ve been able to allow certain individuals to get in some much needed extra work at the training ground and in the case of the new arrivals help their settling in process grow.
“However, on the other hand there are mixed feelings regarding players who have represented their national teams.
“We have players who’ve played a lot of minutes and some who like Antolin Alcaraz have had to be substituted during games with slight injuries which are a concern 48 hours before a league match.
“Overall I do believe everyone will be ready for the test at Old Trafford but in the case of Antolin and Jean Beausejour, we’ll have to assess their condition right up to the last minute.”
Latics’ history at Old Trafford is well documented and Martinez knows his players must be ready mentally for the game if they’re to record a momentous result:
“The last seven visits to Old Trafford have been a real uphill task for us; 24 goals conceded and one goal scored, from the penalty spot, tells its own story.
“It’s important that we get ready for the event and the occasion because playing at Old Trafford can affect your play and we can’t allow that to happen.
“The last time we played Manchester United showed that we can match them on our day and we need to make sure that together with the new players in the squad we’re mentally strong to try and do the same again and be the best Wigan Athletic side that has travelled to Old Trafford.”
The game could well see two former Latics players lining up in red shirts with Antonio Valencia and Tom Cleverley prominent members of Sir Alex Ferguson’s team so far this season.
The Gaffer said that whilst Latics fans will look at the players’ achievements with a smile, he certainly hopes Saturday is one of their off-days:
“As a football club it does give us a good feeling to see the likes of Antonio Valencia and Tom Cleverley performing so well for Manchester United after their experiences with Wigan Athletic.
“Antonio’s achievements at Old Trafford and his rise to becoming one of his team’s most important players is something that puts our club on the map, and in the case of Tom we were all proud of his development whilst he was at the DW Stadium and could see by the time he returned to his parent club that he was ready to compete for international appearances and a place in Sir Alex Ferguson’s team.
“We’re proud of them and they’ll always have Wigan Athletic fans supporting them both, but hopefully on Saturday they won’t be their usual selves.
“As for our players, we’re ready to do everything we can on the pitch to make our fans proud, and knowing that there’ll be a big number travelling to the game we’re also relying on them to get us going and help us to feel at home away from the DW Stadium, showing the voice and desire we saw time and again last season at places like Anfield and The Emirates.”