ROBERTO Martinez insists Wigan Athletic’s goalkeeping position is in safe hands ahead of the relegation run-in.
Martinez recalled Joel Robles at Manchester City on Wednesday, and the Spanish youngster responded with a near-perfect display between the sticks.
Robles’ handling throughout was exemplary, and his save from Edin Dzeko with his feet in the second half was right out of the top drawer.
In the end, only a world-class strike from Carlos Tevez that found the top corner blotted his copybook, and denied Wigan anything from a game they probably deserved to win.
It was vindication for his recall after Ali Al Habsi had played the previous game – the FA Cup semi-final win over Millwall – and was rewarded with a clean sheet.
And Martinez acknowledges the competition between the two men gives him an embarrassment of riches in the goalkeeping ranks.
“I feel the strength in depth we have in goal is as good as there is in the Premier League,” said Martinez.
“And it’s not just the unity, it’s the respect between the two players and the way they conduct themselves on a daily basis. Clearly these two have plenty of respect for each other’s ability, and that can only help.
“Earlier in the season, Ali was taking to the field without being 100 per cent, and that is always going to have an effect on you.
“Thankfully, now he has come back a lot fresher, with a lot more confidence, and I think we saw a rejuvenated Ali on Saturday which we all wanted to see.
“But Joel is also a top-class goalkeeper in his own right, and he deserved the opportunity to play.”
Martinez also believes his side have got what it takes to once again drag themselves out of the relegation mire in the nick of time. Tomorrow’s trip to West Ham is the first of six matches that will decide Wigan’s fate, but the gaffer is confident they’ll be fine if they can maintain their performance levels. There isn’t another team in the last two years who have produced the kind of statistics that we have, which is a compliment to the squad and a benchmark to maintain for the rest of the season,” he added. “The reason we didn’t win on Wednesday is simple – we didn’t take our chances. Of course, we would much rather have taken the points from the game, but if we continue to play like that then we will take points from games.”