The ultimate test

Roberto Martinez
Roberto Martinez

IT’S a collective threat that Latics boss Roberto Martinez is preparing for as his team continue to gear up for tomorrow’s ultimate test – Manchester United at the DW Stadium.

The Premier League front-runners roll into Wigan tomorrow in good form – and on the back of 12 wins from 12 previous meetings between the two sides.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men are in the middle of a particularly hectic schedule though, having been in France on Wednesday to play Marseille and with a Premier League trip to Chelsea beckoning next Tuesday.

But Martinez knows full well that a very tough task awaits his team whoever they may come up against.

There have been suggestions that Ferguson may tinker with his side tomorrow following the midweek trip abroad and the magnitude of next Tuesday’s clash, but Martinez has all angles covered it would seem.

He said: “United have got a few injuries at the moment, but the options they have got are well known of course.

“I feel that this game is as important for them as the Chelsea game.

“Every single point at this stage of the season is vital.

“They’re top of the league, and any point they get could help them stay there.

“I’m expecting to face the strongest Manchester United team though, whoever is on the pitch.

“That’s because the mentality of the squad is United’s real strength.

“They’ve got that arrogance, in knowing that they’re going to win, and that’s spread out amongst the squad.

“That’s an experience we need to cope with.

“It’s not about individuals, it’s a complete feeling they’ve got.

“For our part we’ve prepared well though, we’ve prepared to face a team that it always difficult to play against.”

Martinez has observed a United team that while getting good results, has been labouring somewhat, but the admiration is clearly there from the Spaniard.

He added: “I feel against Crawley last weeeknd in the FA Cup they did enough to get through - if they’d had needed a few more goals I’m sure they would have stepped up another gear and got them.

“From a tactical point of view, the performance against Marseille was outstanding.

“I know from a neutral or spectators’ point of view it wasn’t an exciting game, but the way they neutralised Marseille was superb.

“Marseille didn’t look a threat at all, and the United team played with great maturity and great experience.”

Martinez has a near full-strength squad to choose for tomorrow’s huge game.

Emmerson Boyce faces a ftness test as he has been troubled by a hamstring injury, while Callum McManaman should be okay after he sustained a nasty head gash last Wednesday when clashing heads with Bolton’s Patrice Muamba.