Al Habsi calls on Latics fans

Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi
Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi

ALI Al Habsi has called on the public of Wigan to get behind Latics as they aim to kick off next season where they left off.

An incredible late run saw Latics end on 43 points – seven clear of the drop zone, and their highest points tally under Roberto Martinez.

The season-ending 3-2 victory over Wolves last weekend was played out in front of a sell-out home crowd, who cheered the side on to a fourth win on the bounce at the DW.

And Al Habsi says similar support next term will be crucial if Latics are to continue their year-on-year progress.

“It was great to see the DW full in the home ends, and it was great to end the season with a win,” Al Habsi said.

“Eight years in the Premier League is a fantastic achievement and we did very well this year – particularly at the end.

“We always believed, the fans always believed, and we achieved our aims.

“They are special supporters who carry us forwards, and I would love to see big crowds at the DW next year right from the start.

“You’ve seen how much of an impact they can make, and they’ve been a key reason why we’ve managed to stay up.

“The challenge is to start next year the way we’ve finished this one – and the fans can help make sure we achieve that.”

The early signs are that Al Habsi will get his wish, with the club reporting brisk sales of season tickets that went on sale last Thursday.

“’Heart and Soul’ has been our strapline this year, and I think that sums up the club at the moment,” said chief executive Jonathan Jackson.

“Off the pitch, we want to improve, we want to increase our attendances, and we are confident we can do that.

“Last year season tickets were 11 per cent up, and our overall home attendances were 15 per cent up.

“That has come on the back of a lot of hard work behind the scenes, and obviously it’s a really exciting time for the club.”

Meanwhile, Martinez has drifted in the betting to become the next Liverpool manager.

The Spaniard remains the only man the Reds have officially approached, despite reports they plan to interview as many as a dozen candidates.

But last night former Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas had been backed into favouritism at 6/4, with Martinez now out to 3/1.