ROBERTO Martinez believes Wigan Athletic are stealing a march on their Premier League rivals by continuing to plunder the Scottish market.
When Fraser Fyvie joined from Aberdeen on Monday, he became the fifth player plucked from the SPL since Martinez took charge three years ago.
James McCarthy, James McArthur, Gary Caldwell, Conor Sammon and Shaun Maloney have already made the trip south down the M6, and all have played their part in Latics retaining their top-flight status.
The Wigan chief is confident Fyvie has what it takes to also make the grade in the Premier League - which would further vindicate his decision to talent-spot north of the border.
“Scottish football has always produced promising talent and that will never change,” Martinez told the Evening Post.
“It’s not the level of talent that has dipped in recent years – it’s more the character that you are talking about.
“And the way the Scottish league is at the moment, only the strongest will survive.
“Those are the ones that feel they need a new challenge to progress, and Fraser is exactly that type of person.
“To have made such a big impact at such a young age tells you a lot about his character, his determination and the fact that he’s a winner.
“We are all very excited he has chosen to come to Wigan because he had several other options as you can imagine.”
Wigan’s engine room could well have more than a hint of a Tartan feel next term, with Fyvie, McCarthy and McArthur vying for spots just behind Maloney.
And Martinez believes his newest recruit could do worse than try to follow in the footsteps of his countrymen.
“I’m sure Fraser will be looking at James McCarthy and James McArthur as proof of what can be achieved, and they’ll act as a real incentive for him,” Martinez added.
“But he’ll also be looking at Shaun Maloney who was brought up in a very similar area, and the fact Gary Caldwell is the captain of his national team. He’ll obviously have a lot of support here from his home patch, there are a lot of links to the SPL in the dressing room.
“But more than anything Fraser will be bringing a hunger and freshness of his own, and he’s desperate to bridge the gap between the SPL and the Premier League. I’m sure he’ll find Wigan the perfect home from home.”
Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh touched town in England on Wednesday, ready for his trials with the club.
He tweeted: “Landed in Manchester! Now a drive to Wigan!”