Down to the wire

Emmerson Boyce (left) in action against Newcastle
Emmerson Boyce (left) in action against Newcastle
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EMMERSON Boyce is prepared for the relegation dogfight to go right to the last day of the season on May 22.

The right-back was one of the mainstays of the 2006-07 side, who stayed up courtesy of a nail-biting 2-1 last-day victory at Sheffield United.

Latics have tough games against Champions League-chasing Tottenham and Chelsea up next, but have what looks to be a very favourable last six games to finish with.

“As long as we can stay in touch during the next couple of weeks, there are games to come where we’ll fancy our chances of winning,” said Boyce [pictured].

“Games like Blackpool and West Ham are still to come, which will be the biggest games of our season, and the boys are confident they can do it.

“Survival generally depends on your home form, and if we can come up with three wins out of three we’ll give ourselves a big chance of staying up.

“A couple of points on the road, and you’re more or less safe.

“It’ll go right to the last day of the season again, but hopefully we can come up with some results of our own so we’re not relying on other teams losing to stay up.”

Meanwhile, manager Roberto Martinez yesterday spoke of a ‘very successful weekend’ for all of the Latics players who were in international action on Saturday and Sunday.

Mohamed Diame made his first appearance for Senegal, completing the full 90 minutes as his side secured a 1-0 win over Cameroon in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Steve Gohouri played 90 minutes for the Ivory Coast in their African Cup of Nations qualifier against Benin, where a Didier Drogba brace secured a 2-1 win.

Elsewhere Antolin Alcaraz also played the full 90 minutes as Paraguay were defeated 3-1 by Mexico in Oakland, USA.

Paraguay will take on the USA in Nashville tonight.

After their 4-0 win away to Denmark last Thursday, loan ace Tom Cleverley and the England Under-21 squad faced Iceland last night at Preston’s Deepdale stadium.

Scotland’s long wait for a first victory over Brazil continued on Sunday as the five-time World Cup winners defeated Craig Levein’s team 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium thanks to a brace from Neymar.

Latics skipper Gary Caldwell played the full game whilst James McArthur won his third national cap and was substituted just under an hour into the game.

Completing the home nations round-up, James McCarthy made his competitive debut for the Republic of Ireland in their 2-1 win over Macedonia at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on Saturday.

Maynor Figueroa and Hendry Thomas were in action for Honduras, taking on South Korea in Seoul, but sadly neither could help prevent a 4-0 loss. They’ll have a chance to bounce back tonight against China.

In Madrid Hugo Rodallega came off the bench to help Colombia to a 2-0 win over Ecuador, and they face Chile in Den Haag, Netherlands tonight.

Goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi’s Oman team take on Tunisia in Muscat tonight.