ROBERTO Martinez could have the luxury of a fully-fit squad at his disposal for the first time this season when Fulham visit the DW this weekend.
The Wigan boss is hoping to welcome back injured pair Franco di Santo and James McCarthy for the clash, which is already being billed a six-pointer given the two sides’ poor starts.
Both McCarthy and Di Santo picked up hamstring strains in the defeat to Bolton a fortnight ago, causing them to miss last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Newcastle.
But the pair have responded well to treatment and Martinez hopes both will be available for the biggest game of the season so far.
“Franco has recovered really well and we’re hoping he’ll be able to rejoin the group by Thursday,” he told the Evening Post.
“James is in pretty much in the same boat, and it would be great to have both back in contention.
“Both have been working to individual programmes for the early part of the week, but have both progressed well and I’m hopeful.
“We won’t know for sure until later in the week, but both lads are obviously desperate to be involved.”
It will be the first time this term Martinez will have had a full complement to choose from, with Antolin Alcaraz and Hugo Rodallega having missed a chunk of the campaign through injury.
Rodallega returned to central striking duties at the weekend in the absence of Di Santo, and led the line well on his first full game back – giving Martinez food for thought.
“Good players can play anywhere, and Hugo is a great example of that,” Martinez added.
“Certain players are suited to certain games, and I felt Hugo was perfect to play up front against Newcastle, who defend with a high line and leave big spaces in behind.
“Other teams drop a lot deeper, like Fulham will this weekend, and you have to counter that by playing in front of defenders.
“The good thing is we have the options to hurt different teams with different styles.”
Rodallega has overcome his own injury scare this week, as a result of an over-zealous knee-high challenge by Yohan Cabaye on Saturday.
“Hugo was unable to train with the group on Monday,” revealed Martinez. “But it was more of a superficial wound rather than any more structural damage, and he’ll be fine for Fulham.”