Martinez seeks home comforts

Roberto Martinez
Roberto Martinez

ROBERTO Martinez is hoping home comforts can help get Wigan Athletic’s survival bid back on track.

After a promising recent run, Latics find themselves back in the bottom three after the 4-2 defeat at Sunderland.

With only four matches remaining, time is running out for Latics to save themselves – and Saturday’s visit of Everton has already been marked down as a must-win encounter.

Latics are returning to the DW Stadium after almost a month on the road due to the quirks of the fixture list.

And Martinez says they must make home advantage count – much like Sunderland did at the Stadium of Light at the weekend.

“Playing at home can bring you momentum,” he told the Evening Post.

“The home crowd plays a big role, and maybe it affects a refereeing decision in a split second.

“What we need to hope for now is to get that sort of momentum at the DW, starting on Saturday, and hopefully things will go our way for a change.”

Despite a below-par showing on Wearside, Latics will perhaps feel they didn’t get the rub of the green from official Lee Probert – with regards Sunderland’s first and third goals in particular.

First Gary Caldwell was adjudged to have hauled down Asamoah Gyan on the edge of his own box, despite the Ghanaian clearly having a handful of Caldwell’s shirt, which led to the home side’s equaliser.

Then Antolin Alcaraz was penalised for what appeared to be a regulation shoulder charge on Stephane Sessegnon, who effectively sealed the points from the penalty spot.

“There was very little we could do to avoid the goal we conceded from the set play and the penalty, and those two actions were key,” Martinez added.

“We got heavily punished for very little, but it’s gone now and we move on.”

Martinez also reiterated his gratitude at chairman Dave Whelan’s insistence that the Spaniard will remain in charge even if Latics lose their top-flight status.

“I’m privileged, I’ve always said that,” admitted Martinez.

“My chairman is unique. He’s very demanding and ruthless when he has to be, but he allows you to work.

“He has said to me that whatever happens I’m going to stay until the end of my contract [in 2012].

“The players also know that, whatever happens, they have to put up with me next season.

“That allows me to work long term and gives me and the club stability.”