Martinez targets Honduran

Honduras' Roger Espinoza, left, battles for the ball with Morocco's Abdelaziz Barrada during the group D men's soccer match at the London 2012 Summer Olympics
Honduras' Roger Espinoza, left, battles for the ball with Morocco's Abdelaziz Barrada during the group D men's soccer match at the London 2012 Summer Olympics
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ROBERTO Martinez has confirmed he is looking to increase the Honduran contingent at Wigan Athletic.

The Honduran market has been good to Latics over the years with Wilson Palacios, Maynor Figueroa and Hendry Thomas serving the club with distinction.

Latics were able to make a £14million profit on Palacios when Spurs snapped him up in January 2009, while Figueroa continues to be an integral part of the side.

And Martinez could be tempted to go back in for midfielder Roger Espinoza when the transfer window re-opens in January, along with a couple of his team-mates from the Olympic squad.

“We have got a very strong link with Honduras, and over the years we’ve been very players getting players over,” Martinez acknowledged.

“We always keep an eye on players from that country because we know what they bring, and they tend to fit in with our football club very well.

“Roger was a player we followed along with a couple of others who were in the Olympic team, and we’ll continue to keep a close eye on them.”

Espinoza has made over 100 appearances for Sporting Kansas City, but is out of contract when the MLS campaigns draws to a close next month.

The 25-year-old starred at the London Olympics, scoring against Brazil in Honduras’ dramatic 3-2 quarter-final defeat.

And he is on record as saying that a move to the Premier League is an ambition of his.

“That’s the plan, obviously,” he said. “I want to play in a top league and the English Premier League is one of my favourite leagues.

“If the chance arises, I wouldn’t hesitate to be there. I love the league. I watch it every morning in the USA.”

Meanwhile, Martinez says Callum McManaman will be staying put despite rumours of a possible loan move.

McManaman, who scored a brace for the Under-21s in their 3-3 draw with Barnsley on Monday, starred for Blackpool during a similar spell last term.

But after sanctioning that move to give the forward some much-needed first-team football, Martinez believes he can and will be an asset to Latics this term.

“Callum is working really, really well and I expect him to play a big part with us this season,” the Wigan chief added.

England Under-20 goalkeeper Lee Nicholls has been allowed out on loan, and has been getting rave reviews for his performances for Northampton.

“Lee has really found his niche at Northampton,” Martinez acknowledged.

“He kept a very important clean sheet in midweek, and he’s developed a very good relationship with his two centre-halves.

“He’s loving the challenge and he’s enjoying the experience.