ROBERTO Martinez believes tonight’s Lancashire hot-pot against Bolton represents the ideal opportunity for Latics to show their bouncebackability.
Wigan’s recent resurgence – and their proud unbeaten home record – was checked at the weekend, with Newcastle’s 1-0 victory at the DW.
But Martinez has welcomed tonight’s short trip to the Reebok, and challenged his players to kick-off another positive run of results.
“We react well to adversity, and that’s probably the biggest strength we have as a football club – both in the playing staff and off the field,” Martinez told the Evening Post.
“The players were obviously disappointed with what happened on Sunday, but they’re ready to bounce back against Bolton. The game can’t come quickly enough for us, to try to unite everyone at the club ahead of what I’m sure will be a fantastic derby.
“We know we weren’t as good as we can be against Newcastle, and we paid the penalty. But it showed again that everything comes down to ourselves and how well we play.
“When we are on our game, we can compete with anyone, but when we don’t it’s very difficult to get results. Tonight is another unique opportunity, against a very good team. But again it will be about us and our standards.”
Bolton have lost their last two matches, at Chelsea and Liverpool, but are still riding high in the table after a superb start to the season.
“I would have to say they have been a surprise package in terms of points on the board, although not when you consider the group of players and the experience they have in the squad,” Martinez added.
“But derbies are unique experiences. They give you that extra little bit of competition and desire, and results are even harder to come by than normal.
“We’re all looking forward to it, and the fans are looking forward to it. Everything we do is for the fans, and we are well aware of what the Bolton game means to them.
“They also have an important role to play, though, and we need them to stay on our side.
“It’s important we don’t get disheartened during a game, because the differences are so minimal this season – small details are counting for big differences at the moment.”
Latics will be without on-loan Ali Al Habsi, who is unable to face his parent club, while Charles N’Zogbia serves the second game of his three-game suspension. James McCarthy, Victor Moses, Emmerson Boyce and Franco di Santo remain on the long-term injured list, although Boyce could make Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Hull.