WIGAN Athletic must pull out all the stops to keep hold of in-demand boss Roberto Martinez – according to Ali Al Habsi and Emmerson Boyce.
The Latics boss appears to be the hottest managerial property around at present, with Liverpool, Aston Villa and West Brom all believed to be keen on luring him away from the DW.
Martinez’s stock has never been higher after guiding Latics to an eighth season of top-flight football, on the back of seven wins from their last nine games.
And news of his possible departure has not been welcomed within the dressing room.
“I would love him to stay here at Wigan – and I’m sure that goes for the rest of the boys,” Al Habsi told the Evening Post.
“I’m sure he has a lot of important things to think about, but that’s between him and the club and we’ll let him get on with that.
“All I can say is that he’s done a great job for Wigan, and he’s been a big help for me with my career.
“He has made sure we have continued to improve, and I hope we will be allowed the opportunity to keep that going under him next year.”
Al Habsi, who was plucked from Bolton’s reserves by Martinez two summers ago, has established himself as one of the best shot-stoppers in the division.
Boyce, meanwhile, is playing arguably the best football of his career, having been converted from a defender into a right-wing back with an eye for goal.
“You never know what’s going to happen in football, we’ll just have to see what happens,” acknowledged Boyce (right).
“The manager is always going to be linked elsewhere and, if a big club like Liverpool were to come along, you can’t begrudge anyone that chance.
“We’d obviously like him to stay here, though.
“Eight seasons in the Premier League for Wigan Athletic is a dream come true, and he’s worked as hard as anyone to ensure we’re still in there.
“Hopefully it’ll be the gaffer who’ll be taking us into that eighth year.”
Martinez met chairman Dave Whelan yesterday to discuss, among other things, plans for the new season.
And Whelan confirmed there has, as yet, been no official approach from any other side for his manager.
l RONNIE Stam is being linked with a switch to PSV Eindhoven, according to reports in Holland.
l SHAUN Maloney has been recalled to the Scotland squad. See page 31.