WIGAN Athletic manager Roberto Martinez has spoken with a degree of relief after revealing that he has a fully-fit squad to choose from for tomorrow’s home game against Aston Villa.
With no injuries or suspensions to contend with, the Spaniard can head into the Villa clash with extra confidence on a day when his team will hope to build on the win at Bolton last time out a fortnight ago.
There may be a selection headache or two beckoning over the next 24 hours, but of course Martinez won’t mind that as he plots a way to net three points that will hopefully lift Latics off the Premier League basement.
The Latics boss said: “Quite often when teams are at the bottom of the league they’ve been depleted by injuries and suspensions and it can be a real problem, but we haven’t got that now.
“Every player available wants to be part of what we’re trying to achieve now.
“We had a couple of viruses, colds and various knocks – and Callum McManaman had some back pain – but during our time in Oman we managed to get rid of everything.
“Everyone is desperate to play, so at present we are probably looking at the biggest competition for places we’ve had in the whole of the last three years.
“I’m really excited with that, but I’ve got decisions to make now.
“We’ve played well for the full 95 minutes in both of our last two games so the football dictated decisions then, not the manager.
“But it is a good sign when you see players disappointed that they’re not playing – that’s the way it should be.”
Martinez couldn’t stress enough how crucial tomorrow’s game could be against Alex McLeish’s side.
He added: “Believe me it’s so important for us. The season could hang on that game. It could dictate the remainder of our home form and our home form hasn’t been good enough, we know that.
“We’ve played well in games, but we have to change that.
“If we want to be in a position where we’ll get enough points by the end of the season, we have to get results at home.
“The next seven games are vital, and the first one this weekend, after good performances against Bolton and Everton, is particularly so.”