Martinez remains upbeat

ROBERTO Martinez insists Wigan Athletic can overcome the loss of skipper Gary Caldwell and continue their impressive recent record at Wolves.

Caldwell misses the trip to Molineux after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Fulham last weekend.

It looks to be a straight fight between Steve Gohouri and Adrian Lopez for the right to partner Antolin Alcaraz at the heart of the defence, although the dependable Emmerson Boyce could switch to centre-back allowing Ronnie Stam to deputise at right-back.

The Wigan boss will give the decision a great deal of thought over the next 24 hours but, whatever he decides to do, he is confident whoever comes in will do a job for him.

“Obviously you never want to lose any player, especially your captain, in the situation we’re in,” Martinez told the Evening Post.

“But we have players waiting to come in, and we have decent competition for places at centre-back.

“You’re never going to steer clear of injuries and suspensions, and you have to look at situations like this as an opportunity for other players to come in and show what they can do.

“Obviously Gary’s communication skills in particular will be missed, because football is a team game and you need great communication to ensure the whole team is going in the same direction.

“But there’s nothing we can do about it, and now is the time to find solutions within the squad and not worry about individuals.”

Lopez has drifted out of the first-team picture after playing five of the first six games of the campaign, while Gohouri has endured a season to forget so far.

After missing the opening weeks through injury, the Ivorian was duly red-carded on his first game back against Tottenham in September, and was substituted after 45 minutes of his only other appearance, against Bolton last month, after his error handed the Trotters their crucial second goal.

Martinez, though, says Gohouri has both the physical and mental strength to bounce back and prove his worth to the side if required.

“Steve’s problem is that he has wanted to help the team so much this season he has been his own worst enemy,” acknowledged Martinez.

“He rushed back from injury in time for the Spurs game, and he wasn’t 100 per cent ready to play.

“When you are tired, in critical moments of the game - such as the last five minutes of each half - you are going to make rash decisions, because you are physically and mentally tired.

“That’s why it’s so important to be 100 per cent and, now he is fully fit and ready to play, he’s desperate to help us turn things round.”

Latics are aiming to record a third successive win at Wolves, after their 2-1 triumph there last term and 2-0 success the season before.

But Martinez has warned of the danger of reading too much into Mick McCarthy’s side’s recent poor run of form.

“Wolves had a very good start to the season but have found it tough going of late, and that’s a very familiar story,” the Spaniard added.

“Like ourselves, I don’t feel Wolves have played too badly in recent weeks, and it would be a mistake to be guided too much by the league table.

“We have come up with a couple of great performances on our last two trips there, and have enjoyed some good landmarks such as James McCarthy’s first Premier League goal.

“It’s always nice when you have good memories on a particular ground, but Wolves have a very good home record and it will be another very tough challenge - but one we’ll be up for.”