Martinez makes plea to fans

Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez
Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez

LATICS boss Roberto Martinez has called on Latics fans to be the 12th man in the final third of the season.

The Spaniard poured praise on the club’s “special” support and as his squad enter the business end of the campaign, he has once again called for them to help push the team over the line.

The club took a rather vocal away following of around 2,000 to Huddersfield last weekend and the manager has asked for that support to continue.

“I thought the fans were such a big inspiration, they were the difference in the last campaign to bring all the good football and the work into the results and we are relying on them once more,” said Martinez.

“That is the real message; we are excited because as a group of players and as a football club, we can rely on our fans and we’re really looking forward to this final third of the season.”

Latics have a huge game this weekend when they travel to the Madjeski Stadium to face fellow survival hopefuls Reading.

If Latics win, come 5pm they could well leap out of the drop zone.

Lose, on the other hand, and they’ll be at least five points adrift of the team in 17th place, depending on how Aston Villa fare in London, where they’re facing Arsenal.

Reading lie one place above Wigan in the table, with just two points separating the two sides.

Latics enjoyed a wonderful end to the 2011/12 season and Martinez wants his players to draw on those experiences.

He added: “Any game from now until the end of the season is more than a football game.

“It’s a unique opportunity to get points. It’s a top game in the best league in the world.

“As a football club we have to be together and draw on the experiences from over the years to be as good as we can and on May 19 we can be as proud of being a Latics member as we always have been.”

Two of Wigan’s players have been nominated for the FA Cup Player of the Round award for their performances at Huddersfield. Man of the match and goalscorer Callum McManaman has been put forward, as has Arouna Kone, who netted two goals on the day.