Roberto Martinez hopes that new signings Angelo Henriquez and Roger Espinoza will have the chance to make their club debuts this weekend when Latics face AFC Bournemouth in the third round of the FA Cup at the DW Stadium.
Despite not having too much preparation time with their new team-mates, Martinez explained how the pair are eager to show fans what they’re capable of in a game that should also feature a number of young talents at the club:
“It’s the return of the most famous competition in world football that brings with it tremendous memories for every club, and we’re certainly looking forward to it returning to the DW Stadium.
“The fans will have the chance to enjoy seeing the work we’ve been doing behind the scenes in helping our young players develop and see the potential they have.
“As well as that it will also be a chance for them to welcome new faces to the club, such as Angelo Henriquez and Roger Espinoza. It’s an important moment for them to be involved in the match preparation, the matchday environment and ensure that they adapt to our football club very quickly.
“Ideally both players would have more time to prepare and get used to their new team-mates, but they’re so desperate to play and at some stage we hope to see them on the pitch.
“So there is a lot to be excited about this weekend and it’ll also be a chance to refresh certain players after the high demands of the festive period. Four games in eleven days has left players with knocks and bruises so they’ll get a much needed chance to recover.
“Obviously there are still a number of players missing long-term through injury who can’t be involved, but Ryo Miyaichi is progressing and it’s touch and go as to whether he can feature whereas Antolin Alcaraz has been training well and won’t be far away from selection again.”
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth go into the game as one of the country’s form teams, with a 16-game unbeaten run behind them in all competitions.
Martinez praised the work of Howe who is in his second spell in charge of the club he once played for, and spoke of a difficult game that awaits his Latics team:
“They’ll bring a winning mentality to the game with an unbeaten run that stretches back to early October which at any level is a tremendous run of form.
“When Eddie went back to the club it seemed a natural move for him which brought stability that has been reflected in results.
“In my eyes they’re easily growing towards a promotion push playing football in the right manner, and we’re under no illusion that they’ll prove to be stiff opposition.
“There is a good mix of experience and young players in the team and I’m sure they’re destined for success this season.
“I think it will all build towards an open game of football; in the FA Cup divisional status doesn’t matter so we need to make sure that we’re ready to compete in a special tie.”