CONOR Sammon is in line for his first taste of the Premier League when Wigan Athletic travel to Manchester City tomorrow.
The 24-year-old striker joined Latics from Kilmarnock in the January transfer window, but has so far seen his on-field involvement limited to reserve-team football and a behind-closed-doors friendly.
However, Sammon was left out of the second-string’s midweek fixture against City in midweek, fuelling speculation he could be added to the first-team pool ahead of the end-of-season run-in.
And Wigan boss Roberto Martinez admits it may well be time to remove the shackles from the sharp-shooting Dubliner.
Martinez told the Evening Post: “Conor has been training well, and has helped create a very healthy competition among the other strikers in the squad.
“It’s important we gave him that little bit of time and space to allow him to develop and get himself ready to make an impact.
“But I think he’s been here long enough now.
“I’ve been very impressed with him so far – and he’s desperate to get out there and enjoy the experience of playing in the Premier League.”
Latics travel to Eastlands with a sour taste in their mouth following last Saturday’s controversial defeat at the hands of Manchester United.
While City will be odds-on favourites to repeat their 2-0 triumph at the DW earlier in the season, Martinez refuses to view tomorrow’s fixture as unwinnable.
And the Spaniard acknowledges his rock-bottom side are in desperate need of three points after seeing all of their relegation rivals pick up precious points last weekend.
“We have 10 games left and we want to get as many points as we can from that block,” he added.
“Looking at the situation we’re in, it’s not just about getting a good result.
“It’s about getting back-to-back results to get out of trouble.
“That’s why it’s important to perform well at Manchester City in a manner that will allow us to be competitive, and generate some positivity to take into the nine matches that follow.”
Martinez, meanwhile, has backed James McCarthy to rise above the controversy surrounding his ‘coming together’ with Wayne Rooney’s elbow against United – and take his frustration out on their near neighbours.
“James is only 20 years of age but is such a fantastic character, and nothing will affect him,” Martinez said.
“What is clear is that James was targeted by Manchester United’s players, who tried to stop him being effective in the game.
“He has to take that as a compliment – to be recognised like that is something he totally deserves.
“But he is focused only on his football now, and winning games for Wigan Athletic.”