ROBERTO Martinez admits Reading will pose a “completely different challenge” when they visit Wigan on Saturday.
Latics entertain the Royals looking to arrest a two-game losing sequence, with their opponents flying after beating Everton in their last outing.
And the Wigan boss hopes home advantage will prove decisive and lift his side towards the relative safety of mid-table.
“It’s a massive game, because all of your home games in the Premier League come into that category,” Martinez told the Evening Post.
“Every game at the DW has been very exciting, although we haven’t managed to pick up as many points as we have probably deserved.
“Reading will present a completely different challenge to the ones we have faced.
“They will be coming here on a massive high after beating Everton, and will be full of confidence because of that.
“We are coming in after two defeats, but we are at home and we have to be prepared to perform as well as we can. It’s a game where we can’t afford to be below our best.”
Martinez says he was not surprised to see Reading clip the wings of high-flying Everton.
“They have managed to retain a lot of that positive momentum since winning promotion last year, and they’ve managed to keep all of their key players which has obviously helped,” he added.
“They will come here in a positive mood, on the front foot, and we’ll have to be careful.”
Many of the Reading side will be new faces to the Wigan fans, but striker Jason Roberts will need no introduction after helping to fire Wigan into the top flight back in 2005.
“We’ve had Jason back a few times with other clubs and it’s obvious the affection that he is still held in these parts,” Martinez recognised.
“He has scored a few against us since he left, but it would be a mistake to put too much emphasis on keeping him quiet.”
Martinez also revealed Ben Watson should be back in the reckoning by the beginning of February after breaking his leg at Liverpool last weekend.
“After the plaster comes off, in the New Year, you’re then looking at a block of about three or four weeks to get the full fitness back – which is around the beginning of February,” he added.