ROBERTO Martinez has backed fit-again Albert Crusat to kickstart Wigan Athletic’s season – starting this weekend against Fulham.
The Spanish winger, a beat-the-deadline arrival from Almeria, saw an ankle problem ruin his first couple of months in England.
But after some hard work at the training ground, Crusat made his first Premier League start at Newcastle, and showed some nice touches down the left-hand side.
The 29-year-old is in line to make his first appearance at the DW Stadium in a massive six-pointer against fellow strugglers Fulham.
And Martinez says the speedy winger has all the tools to help Latics smash their seven-match losing sequence.
“The way Albert plays, the explosive pace he has and the impact he can make, can really kickstart our season,” Martinez told the Evening Post.
“He’s struggled with an ankle injury since he’s been here, which has been really disappointing for us all – not least Albert himself.
“It’s really disrupted his adaptation period, but it was great to see him involved at Newcastle and I thought he looked very sharp.
“As you saw, Albert is a player who will flourish in the Premier League, someone who’ll give us a lot of options in attack.
“We have to be patient with him while he finds his feet but, once he does that properly, he’ll be worth the wait.”
Martinez certainly knows all about Crusat’s qualities, having trailed him for two years before finally luring him from Almeria this summer.
“Albert’s played in La Liga for a number of years in similar circumstances to here,” Martinez added.
“You always have to be patient with a player from a different country, a different culture, a different way of playing, a different way of being refereed.
“But I have already seen clear signs that he has found his feet.
“He knows exactly what it’s like to be in this kind of situation, where you have to really fight against bigger teams, and that experience will be invaluable.”
The Wigan boss is also confident a repeat of the performance from the weekend will see them pick up only a second victory of the campaign.
“A positive result is just around the corner, and once we get that I feel sure our season will kickstart,” he said.
“No-one deserves the kind of bad luck we have been getting, but we can’t wait for someone else to sort it out for us. There’s no time to look for reasons or excuses – it’s time to stand up and affect the situation ourselves.”