Another defender departs

Antonio Amaya (right) has left the club
Antonio Amaya (right) has left the club

ROBERTO Martinez has sanctioned the departure of a second centre-back in less than a week, with Antonio Amaya following Titus Bramble out of the door.

The 27-year-old has rejoined Rayo Vallecano on a season-long loan, just 12 months after moving to Wigan from the Spanish side along with Mohamed Diame.

Amaya previously played for Rayo for five seasons, before becoming one of Martinez’s first signings as Wigan boss.

Unlike Diame, Amaya has struggled to adjust to life in England, making just three appearances – none of them in the Premier League.

Amaya’s debut came in the 4-1 Carling Cup thrashing at Blackpool, although he at least got on the scoresheet with a late consolation goal.

He then appeared in the FA Cup third-round win over Hull, before making his final start in the 2-2 draw at Notts County in January.

However, Amaya’s afternoon lasted just 45 minutes before he was replaced by Steve Gohouri with the League Two side 2-0 up.

Amaya was one of four senior players who were left behind in Wigan when the rest of the first-team squad jetted out to Austria at the weekend.

Olivier Kapo, Daniel de Ridder and Jason Koumas –who are all in the final year of their contracts – were the others who failed to make the cut, and Latics will not discourage any of them from finding a new club.

Kapo, who spent the second half of last term on loan at Boulogne, has expressed a desire to return to France.

De Ridder, meanwhile, has been linked with a return to his first club, Ajax, after impressing on loan at Hapoel Tel Aviv last season.

Koumas was linked with a loan move to a number of Championship clubs during the latter part of last term but nothing materialised.

It would be no surprise, though, to see him also move on this summer.

One man who did make the trip to Austria is French trialist Sekou Baradji, and the midfielder – who showed some nice touches at Oldham last week – is desperate to prove he is worthy of keeping hold of.

“I hope to do well and get a contract here,” he said.

“Being a free agent can also make it simple, but I’ve not heard anything from the gaffer yet.

“Hopefully he has seen things that pleased him. I know it is hard to impress but I am doing my best to reach my goal of playing in the Premier League.

“Even though there is interest from elsewhere, I want to stay here and win a place in the squad. From there I can challenge for a place in the team.”

l Former Latics star Lee Cattermole has backed Titus Bramble to win over the doubting Sunderland public and make a success of his move to Wearside.

Cattermole followed Steve Bruce to the Stadium of Light 12 months ago, and he believes the signing of Bramble is an excellent move by the club.

“Titus is glad to be here, and it’s nice to have him,” said Cattermole.

“He was by far our best player when we were together at Wigan. We had performers like (Antonio) Valencia and (Wilson) Palacios, but Titus was our Player of the Year. He was quality for us.”