Martinez warns off Clarets

Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez and his assistant manager Graeme Jones
Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez and his assistant manager Graeme Jones

ROBERTO Martinez has warned Burnley they’d be wasting their time in trying to make Graeme Jones their new manager.

The Wigan assistant boss yesterday emerged as a shock candidate to replace Eddie Howe, who left the Championship club to return to Bournemouth at the end of last week.

Jones is in his fourth year as Martinez’s No.2 at Wigan, after the pair moved up from Swansea in the summer of 2009.

They previously played together at Springfield Park in the ‘90s, at the beginning of the Wigan Athletic success story.

The Clarets have also been linked with Michael Appleton, Graham Alexander and Keith Hill as they look to make a swift appointment.

But Martinez is confident Jones will be staying at the DW for the foreseeable future.

“It’s always a massive compliment when other clubs see the good work that you are doing at your football club,” Martinez told the Evening Post.

“That’s the case for players and it also applies for the staff as well, in this case Graeme.

“What we have to do is keep focused on the job we have to do here, and the goals we have set ourselves to achieve this season.

“This is a really important time at our football club, and it could turn out to be a significant building block in our legacy as a football club.

“We are very focused on what we have to achieve this season – and that’s not going to change.”

Martinez also rejected the notion that the speculation would prove to be an unwelcome distraction in the lead-up to Saturday’s crucial Premier League clash at their previous club, Swansea.

“I’m sure he’ll take the rumours on board, but he won’t let it affect his work in preparing for Saturday’s game,” Martinez added.

“It’s something that goes with the territory when you are involved in football.

“When you do the right things, this sort of thing comes along – the same as when you don’t do the right things, other things come along.”

Jones was the subject of interest from Swansea when they were seeking a successor for Brendan Rodgers last summer, but he elected to stay put in the North West.

Portsmouth boss Appleton remains the bookies’ favourite, with Owen Coyle also being mentioned as a possible candidate.

However, it’s believed those rumours are well wide of the mark, with a sizeable section of the Burnley fanbase still not having forgiven their former boss for walking out on them to join Bolton nearly three years ago.