ROBERTO Martinez has pledged to ‘freshen things up’ as weary Wigan prepare to negotiate a potential FA Cup banana skin at Swindon on Saturday.
Latics ended a relatively productive festive period on a huge low, slumping to a 4-1 home defeat to Sunderland on Tuesday.
While the scoreline was in no way a fair reflection on the game – which Latics dominated for long periods without having the cutting edge to hammer home their advantage – Martinez admits there were a few of the side out on their feet at the end of a gruelling month.
And he’ll continue with his policy of fielding fringe players and youngsters with a point to prove when the side travel down to the County Ground this weekend.
One of the first names on the team-sheet will be young Callum McManaman, back at Wigan after a hugely-productive loan spell at Blackpool.
And the Latics chief is expecting big things from the England Under-20 striker.
“Callum is back now and we’re all looking forward to him being available for the FA Cup campaign,” Martinez told the Evening Post.
“It’s obvious he has enjoyed his time with Blackpool and we’re looking forward to reaping the benefits over the coming weeks.
“Callum has grown so much during the last few months – he’s a completely different player from the one we sent to Blackpool, which we hoped would be the case.
“He has played a really big role for a top Championship club, which was always going to help him progress in his career.
“He comes back to us as a fresh player, and now it’s all about how we can integrate him back into the squad and how he responds to the challenge.
“Tuesday night was a game too many for a number of the players, and it’s important we refresh ourselves and share the responsibility for bouncing back at Swindon.”
Saturday’s starting XI is also expected to include the likes of James McArthur, Adrian Lopez and Shaun Maloney, while Emmerson Boyce could make his first appearance in over two months after returning to the bench in midweek.
Hugo Rodallega may also be given another run-out, after marking his second start on the spin following several weeks on the sidelines with a fine goal against Sunderland.
“It’s always great to see Hugo scoring goals and, now he’s off the mark, hopefully it will be the first of many,” Martinez added.
“Hugo is a confidence player and we need him to have a big say in what we’re trying to do.”
Martinez should also discover later today the full extent of the back injury suffered by Albert Crusat against Sunderland.