Martinez has his fingers crossed

Roberto Martinez (right) and Everton boss David Moyes
Roberto Martinez (right) and Everton boss David Moyes

ROBERTO Martinez is keeping his fingers crossed the days of suffering an international hangover could be over.

Latics have been notoriously sluggish in the aftermath of international breaks.

Only once in the last three years – a last-gasp 2-1 win over Birmingham in March 2011 – have they returned with three points. That wretched run includes the home defeat to Swansea last term, which was arguably the worst performance of the entire campaign.

The Swans are again the opposition as Latics travel to South Wales looking to arrest a run of five matches without a win. But Martinez believes a subtle tweak in the scheduling could make all the difference.

“The focus was to get the players back a little bit quicker and try and get two days work with the whole squad and I think we have achieved that,” Martinez revealed.

“We’ve trained at 4.30pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and that’s given an opportunity for virtually all of our players to be involved. That is a big difference to what we have managed after previous international breaks.”

Jean Beausejour (to Ecuador) Arouna Kone (to Senegal), Maynor Figueroa (to Panama) and Ali Al Habsi (to Oman) have clocked up the air miles over the last week.

In previous years, Martinez has seen some of the long-haulers reporting back to the club less than 24 hours before the game.

But he is hoping a concerted effort to book them on earlier flights will mean they are better prepared to back-up for their clubs.