Roberto Martinez hopes that luck can play its part in Latics’ upcoming Barclays Premier League game against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
Wigan Athletic are without a win against Fulham in the last twelve meetings and have only won once at Craven Cottage in the top flight, when Henri Camara’s goal made the difference back in October 2006.
Martinez admitted it won’t be easy this weekend against Martin Jol’s side and explained that in order for fortune to run the way of his team they must work hard and earn the result:
“It’s not been an easy place for us to visit recently and much of that I think goes down to the little turns of luck you need in football.
“Fulham themselves though are a difficult team to face; they have a strong core of players who have been with the club for a long time and use home advantage really well.
“They keep the ball with patience, have very good individuals and big threat in dead-ball situations, but in the last three meetings with them it’s fair to say we have been unlucky.
“At the DW Stadium earlier this season for example, we performed really well and deserved nothing less than three points, but lost 2-1 in a result that owed itself more to misfortune on our part.
“The approach this time is simple; we need work hard enough and be good enough to earn that luck against a side who started the season really well and have since had an up and down campaign but are on the back of a tremendous result at West Brom.”
The match comes seven days after Martinez made nine changes for the FA Cup third round tie against Bournemouth at the DW Stadium, a game which not only allowed many members of the squad some much needed rest but also gave the Spaniard more to think about in terms of selection options going forwards:
“The changes we made against Bournemouth were very important in sharing the responsibilities of the squad.
“Four games in eleven days prior to that had taken its toll and we needed to recover from that, but at the same time the players who took to the field in the FA Cup showed that they are ready and want to help the team in the league.
“That increases the options we have goings forwards and I believe that right now we’re getting stronger with each day.
“The new arrivals (Angelo Henriquez & Roger Espinoza) are settling in well and will have a big role to play between now and the end of the season also.”
The Gaffer also explained that after the recent injury crisis that hit the team in December, more and more players are returning to full strength with more positive news of the recovery of Paraguayan defender Antolin Alcaraz:
“I was really pleased with the reaction the players had after the Manchester United game, in particular Ivan Ramis and Gary Caldwell had no reaction to the injuries they’ve returned from in recent weeks.
“They’re fully fit and looking fresh ahead of the rest of January’s fixtures. Elsewhere, Adrian Lopez (hamstring) is recovering very well and is expected to train with the group in the next two weeks and Ben Watson is probably ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation such is the progress he’s making, but the two players we’re perhaps going to be without for a longer spell are Ryo Miyaichi and Albert Crusat.
“Antolin Alcaraz has fully recovered from a medical point-of-view but now it’s a case of bringing him up to speed after a long time out.
“We need to get him ready to be able to cope with the demands of a full game; he’s played 20 minutes in a game behind closed doors and in ten to fourteen days he’ll get to where he needs to be once again.”