Martinez weighs up his options

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ROBERTO Martinez has not yet decided who will replace Maynor Figueroa in defence for Saturday’s trip to Blackpool.

The left back was booked in the dying stages of the game with Chelsea last Saturday, meaning he will miss the next two fixtures– against the Seasiders and then Sunderland.

But the Latics boss will mull over his options this week when he observes his side in training.

Martinez has a host of options available to replace the Honduran with Steve Gohouri available.

Emmerson Boyce could also revert to left back, which he has done in the past, leaving his position on the right available for Ronnie Stam.

“I haven’t made my mind up yet,” said Martinez.

“We have a few sessions before the game and it’s important to see how the players are and what moments of form they are in.

“We have options, it’s not a situation where we need to be too creative. We’ve been saving Steve Gohouri’s legs because he was also on nine bookings and we couldn’t afford to lose both players.

“Obviously we have Adrian Lopez as well who is fully fit and in that respect we have really good options.

“Steven Caldwell has been working really well and you feel that we can find a replacement for Maynor.

“You don’t want to lose players but the nature of the game is that you need to be prepared to cope with suspensions and I feel that the squad are going to take that and use it as a unique opportunity for someone else and enjoy the next two games.”

Figueroa’s booking seemed to sum up the bad luck Latics have experienced this campaign. It came in the final minute of the match at Stamford Bridge, in the last game before the slate for yellow cards is wiped clean.

“It was a big blow in the manner that it happened, in the 92nd minute and in the opposite box,” explained Martinez.

“It’s an innocuous challenge and he got a yellow card.

“It was the deadline of the bookings too, it was a big disappointment.

“It’s something you cannot control but it has been that sort of season, we haven’t been getting much luck.

“Maynor has been very consistent and has played a lot of football and now it is an opportunity for someone else who has been training well and that’s why you need a strong squad and a squad healthy in numbers.

“We have got that, so in that respect it’s a great opportunity for someone else.

“I just feel that the harder the achievement, the fairer the feeling and that’s why we need to look to Saturday which is a huge game.

“As a football club we are ready and prepared to face it and end up with a level of performance we have achieved in the last eight games.”