Latics on track

Charles N'Zogbia and Mohamed Diame
Charles N'Zogbia and Mohamed Diame

ROBERTO Martinez insists Wigan Athletic are ‘exactly where I want us to be at this stage of pre-season’ after last night’s 0-0 draw with United Arab Emirates outfit Al Ain over in Austria.

Ben Watson, Victor Moses and Momo Diame were the pick of the Latics players in a clash that ticked virtually every box as far as the gaffer was concerned, with less than three weeks until the big Premier League kick-off against Norwich City.

“I was very, very pleased with what I saw from the players in what was a very worthwhile exercise,” Martinez told the Evening Post.

“It was the first time some of them had got 90 minutes under their belt this pre-season and it was a very competitive game against a very good technical team.

“The most important thing was to ensure we came through unscathed and, although Steve Gohouri picked up a slight knee injury, we managed to do that.

“Even though it was only a friendly, I was delighted to see a real desire to dig in for each other right to the end.

“That will stand us in good stead for the forthcoming season.

“Considering we still have several players to come back into the squad, we are exactly where I would like us to be at this stage of the summer.”

Martinez also admitted that the situation with Charles N’Zogbia remains ‘as you were’ – despite reports over the weekend suggesting an end may finally be in sight to the long-running transfer saga.

The French winger, of course, did not make the trip to Austria with the rest of the squad, leading many to put two and two together regarding a potential transfer to Aston Villa.

However, Martinez revealed: “Charlie stayed behind because he needs a break at this stage of his pre-season.”