Ali dismisses Liverpool link

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ALI Al Habsi has laughed off rumours linking him with Liverpool – and insists he remains 100 per cent committed to Wigan Athletic.

The Oman star’s consistency between the sticks has reportedly attracted the attention of Liverpool, whose No.1 Pepe Reina has been linked with a January exit. But Al Habsi says he is perfectly happy with life at the DW.

“I have said it many times before but I love this football club, I love the fans and I hope to give them much more,” Al Habsi told the Evening Post.

“I heard about what was said at the weekend, but that kind of thing is not of any importance to me.

“I am very, very happy at Wigan – as has been the case since I first came here.

“I am doing well, my form is coming on with every game I play, and my confidence is very high.

“All I want to do is concentrate on my job here and to help the team, because there is lots of work to be done.”

Al Habsi had another fine game as Latics recorded their second Premier League win in a row at Tottenham on Saturday.

In fairess, Wigan’s back three of Ivan Ramis, Gary Caldwell and Maynor Figueroa did a sterling job in keeping the home side at arm’s length.

But Al Habsi’s handling was faultless, and he was equal to the only real shot Spurs had when Jan Vertonghen volleyed goalwards in the first half.

That means he’s conceded only one goal – a stoppage-time header from West Ham’s James Tomkins – in the last 300 minutes of action, including the additional half-hour of extra-time in the Capital One clash against Bradford last Tuesday.

And he credits the fact he feels so at home at Wigan for his impressive performances.

“The most important thing for any professional is to enjoy what they are doing and that goes for football as much as anything,” he added.

“If you enjoy what you’re doing then you are able to do your job right, and that has always been the case at Wigan.”

Meanwhile, Latics were last night expected to give the green light for young goalkeeper Lee Nicholls to remain on loan at League Two Northampton Town.

The England Under-20 international has been a revelation on loan at Sixfields, but his initial deal has expired and he was back at Christopher Park yesterday to meet with Roberto Martinez.

Nicholls has played 16 games for the Cobblers this term, keeping seven clean sheets along the way, and has established himself as a real favourite among the Town supporters.

Town are in action tonight against York City, and as things stand Nicholls would be unable to feature.

But talks are understood to have been underway between the two clubs to extend the deal – possibly until the end of the season – and there is not expected to be a stumbling block with all three parties wanting it to happen.

Martinez has admitted that Nicholls’ loan at Northampton has been hugely beneficial to the youngster.

And the Wigan boss is expected to agree for the 20-year-old former Liverpool trainee to continue his footballing education under the tutelage of Aidy Boothroyd.