Martinez hoping for hat-trick

Wigan Athletic's Roberto Martinez during the Barclays Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle
Wigan Athletic's Roberto Martinez during the Barclays Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle

ROBERTO Martinez is hoping to complete an unwelcome hat-trick after contesting Maynor Figueroa’s red card at Newcastle.

The Honduran was given his marching orders by Mike Jones for his 12-minute coming-together with Papiss Cisse that led to the home side’s first goal on Monday night.

Martinez hinted immediately after the game that Latics would contest the decision and, after viewing the DVD yesterday, that has proved to be the case.

As things stand, Figueroa will serve a one-match ban when QPR visit the DW Stadium this weekend.

With Ivan Ramis and Antolin Alcaraz out injured, and Gary Caldwell picking up his fifth booking of the season at St James’ Park, the additional absence of Figueroa would be a crushing blow.

But Latics are hoping the FA will rule in their favour and expunge the red card from the record books.

It’s the third time in less than a year Latics have appealed against a sending-off - and the omens are certainly in their favour.

Howard Webb’s decision to dismiss Jordi Gomez at Sunderland back in September was overturned on appeal, as was Conor Sammon’s red card during Wigan’s 5-0 defeat at Manchester United last Boxing Day.

It’s thought Latics would create a small piece of, admittedly unwanted, Premier League history by having a third successful appeal in the space of a year.

“The red card obviously has to be because he is stopping a clear goalscoring opportunity,” was Martinez’s immediate assessment.

“It’s difficult to see how a striker is going to score a goal if the ball is divided between two players.

“Both players are allowed to challenge for the ball. As a defender, you are always going to be strong; as a striker, you are going to invite the contact.

“It is shoulder to shoulder for me. What is important is that the contact was shoulder to shoulder, and that’s allowed.

“In the laws of the game, you are allowed to challenge for the position. We will have to look into it if we can appeal for the red card.”