ROBERTO Martinez believes this afternoon’s clash at Swansea has taken on added significance.
And not just because Martinez is returning to the club with whom he cut his managerial teeth.
Latics will travel to South Wales looking for their first victory in six matches, against a Swansea side who are also winless in the last five.
Wigan’s last outing, a 2-2 draw at home to Everton, gave plenty of cause for optimism for the future.
And Martinez believes a positive result at the Liberty Stadium would go a long way towards making that point an even better one.
“I think the draws are good or bad depending on what you do in the next game,” Martinez said.
“The draw we had against Everton was, to me, as good as a win in terms of the manner we got the result.
“Everton were a side continuing the very high level they finished last season, but I felt we were the better side and we took the lead twice.
“I saw that result as Wigan Athletic getting back to what we would consider to be our best.
“And we aim to make that draw a very good one with another positive result at Swansea.”
The game will be Martinez’s second return to Swansea since his defection to Wigan in the summer of 2009.
Last term, amid a blaze of publicity, the widely-anticipated barrage of abuse from the home fans – still sore at losing Martinez to Wigan – never materialised, with the Spaniard even receiving a respectful reception before the game.
And with Michael Laudrup becoming the third Swansea manager since Martinez, the Latics chief believes returning to his former stomping ground has lost even more of its significance.
“The first time you back to a club it’s something you need to go through,” Martinez added.
“I think now it’s moved on, and there is an understanding about it.
“Swansea had a tremendous season in the Premier League last year and this is a very important game for both sides.
“Any link between me and my coaching staff and Swansea has now become just a memory, and the important thing this weekend is the three points.
“It’s not the novelty occasion it perhaps was last year – that’s gone.
“I will never lose my memories, because my time in Swansea was very special, very important and unique – not just as a manager but as a player and a captain.
“I had a long, long relationship with Swansea City – it wasn’t just over one or two seasons, and we went really close to what we wanted to achieve.
“But now it’s not about a former manager going back to Swansea, it’s about two clubs trying to compete in the best league in the world – where we both always want to be.”
Martinez is also hoping Wigan will react better to this international break than they did to the last one.
Latics began the season in encouraging form with four points from three games but, after the previous international break in September, they lost their next three games before stopping the rot against Everton.
The Spaniard said of the breaks: “I do feel we need to help the players a little bit more.
“Sometimes it’s just making an extra day for them to recover, taking the travelling into consideration, and probably that’s something that can be addressed over the next few months.”