Relief all round at Wigan

James McArthur takes on Fulham's Damien Duff
James McArthur takes on Fulham's Damien Duff

MIKE Pollitt admits Wigan Athletic’s players were keeping their fingers crossed just as much as the club’s supporters that Roberto Martinez would stay put this summer.

The Wigan players jet out later today for a pre-season training camp in Sweden with Martinez still at the helm, despite a summer of almost continued speculation linking the Spaniard with more high-profile jobs elsewhere.

Martinez was hotly-tipped for the vacant managerial hotseats at Aston Villa, Liverpool and then Tottenham Hotspur ahead of Andre Villas-Boas’ appointment, but will take charge of Latics for a fourth season in the top-flight.

And Pollitt revealed the playing staff are just as relieved as the fans that is the case.

“The players have been in the same boat as the fans over the past few weeks, keeping up to date via the papers and Sky Sports News,” he told the Evening Post.

“It looked like it was all right for a few weeks, and then when Harry Redknapp left Tottenham I thought: Oh no.

“It has been a bit unsettling these last few weeks, not really knowing what’s been going on with the manager.

“But we’re all delighted he’s staying, and let’s hope he can keep us moving up that table.”

Martinez has less than six weeks to assemble his troops before the big kick-off against Chelsea, and will step up his search to bring in the new blood he needs to bolster the squad.

His only business this off-season has been to extend the contracts of James McArthur and Pollitt, whose 12-month extension will take him through his 41st birthday in February.

The Farnworth-born custodian has refused to confirm his latest deal will be his last, although he does admit he is already planning for life after playing.

“I’m no spring chicken anymore, I’m 40 now, and those things are at the back of mind increasingly,” he added.

“When I first joined Wigan, at 33, I thought I’d give it two years and then see what happens - and seven or eight years on I’m still here.

“Ideally I want to stay in the game when I do call it quits, but all I’m thinking about at the moment is keeping on playing for now.

“I’ve done my Level 3 coaching now, next up is the A-Licence, and I am enjoying it.

“It’s a lot different from being a player - instead of just turning up for training, a coach has to plan the session, keep it fresh and so on.

“There’s obviously a lot more responsibility being a coach, but it’s something I’m looking forward to pursuing one day.”