Chill out, says Martinez

Roberto Martinez
Roberto Martinez

ROBERTO Martinez insists Wigan Athletic’s plans for the festive period have not been affected by the recent cold snap.

Last weekend’s visit of Aston Villa fell foul of the weather after freak snowfall on Friday night, while the club’s Christopher Park training base has been completed covered by a thick white carpet all week.

Martinez, though, is happy enough with the way things have gone ahead of Sunday’s crunch clash at Wolves, with Latics looking for three priceless points to haul them out of the bottom three.

“We have been able to adapt in changing the location of our training,” Martinez told the Evening Post.

“But we haven’t had to change any of our training programme at all.

“We are very fortunate in that we have had access to outdoor facilities with astroturf and indoor facilities at the Soccerdome, and also at the stadium where the pitch is very good.”

As a result of the Villa postponement, Latics will spend Christmas Day in the bottom three - but there were positives to be gleaned from a weekend off.

“In any situation, you always try and look at the positives,” Martinez argued.

“It means Tom Cleverley will be fully fit, Gary Caldwell will be able to get another few sessions under his belt and Emmerson Boyce is also closer to full fitness.

“The negative side, of course, is Maynor Figueroa and Hendry Thomas have not been able to clear their suspensions, but hopefully the squad as a whole is stronger.

“As far as Franco di Santo is concerned, he still has a few days to prove his fitness but it does look unlikely he’ll make it for Sunday.”

The availability of Cleverley is a massive bonus for Martinez, who initially feared the player had cracked a rib during the 0-0 draw at Everton earlier this month.

Thankfully, the damage was found to be just bruising, although the trip to Molineux may still prove to be one of the 21-year-old’s final appearances in a Latics shirt.

The on-loan Manchester United will meet Sir Alex Ferguson next week to discuss the possibility of him returning to Old Trafford midway through his season-long arrangement.

But the Wigan chief says he is losing no sleep over that eventuality at the moment.

“I’m a positive person, and as far as I’m concerned, Tom is here until the end of the season,” he said.

“Obviously Manchester United do have a recall clause, but all we can do is focus on making sure Tom continues his development here until we hear any different.

“He is a great footballer who has brought a lot to the squad, and is someone we hope we’ll be able to enjoy for many months to come.”

Steve Gohouri is expected to switch to left-back to cover for Figueroa on Sunday, with Ronnie Stam coming in at right-back.

James McArthur is expected to replace Thomas alongside Momo Diame in the engine room, while there could also be a welcome return for club captain Caldwell after a six-week lay-off with a quad problem.

Martinez also revealed that long-term injured pair James McCarthy and Victor Moses are recovering ahead of schedule, and should both be back in the fold ‘by the first week of February’.