Jackson: Latics are aiming high

Latics' chief executive Jonathan Jackson
Latics' chief executive Jonathan Jackson

WIGAN Athletic will be going all out for a top-10 finish next season now that Roberto Martinez has committed his future to the club.

That’s according to chief executive Jonathan Jackson, who will now crank up his efforts to bring in the ‘four or five’ new players identified by Martinez ahead of next season.

Speculation over Martinez’s future has dominated the back pages ever since the end of last term, but the Spaniard has turned his back on both Liverpool and Aston Villa to take his Wigan tenure into a fourth campaign.

The next task on the ‘to-do’ list is to replace the five players – Chris Kirkland, Steve Gohouri, Hendry Thomas, Momo Diame and Hugo Rodallega –whose contracts expired at the end of last season.

And Jackson (left) says once that is done, there will be nothing stopping Latics aiming for the stars next term – or at least the top half of the Premier League.

“The aim next season has to be the top half of the table, absolutely,” Jackson told the Evening Post.

“And I feel that can be achieved with what we have at the football club.

“Every year under Roberto we have improved our points total.

“And if we can continue our improvement both on and off the field, we’ll all be happy with that.

“We don’t have any unrealistic aims here – we just want to keep on improving.”

Chairman Dave Whelan has already pledged to back his manager in the transfer market with significant funds.

And Jackson believes the lengths Whelan has gone to in the last fortnight to keep hold of Martinez shows his appetite for the fight has not diminished.

“The chairman is working as hard as ever for this football club,” Jackson added. “He is fully supportive of everything we are doing for this football club, and none of this would be possible without him.

“I don’t see any slowing down whatsoever in terms of his passion of support for this football club.

“If anything, I think the last few months has given him renewed energy to see just how far we can take this thing forward.”

l Whelan last night confirmed that Martinez’s assistant Graeme Jones had been given permission to speak to Swansea about becoming the Welsh side’s new manager.