Thirteen clubs still face drop - Martinez

ROBERTO Martinez believes as many as 13 clubs are still involved in the Premier League relegation battle.

Latics gave themselves a lifeline with the 2-1 victory over Bolton at the weekend, a result that took them to within two points of the current safety mark of 21 points.

With 13 matches still to go, confidence remains high at the DW that another end-of-season burst can see Latics retain their top-flight status.

At present, it looks like any three from the bottom five will be going down, given the seven-point buffer between fifth-bottom QPR and sixth-bottom Aston Villa.

But the Wigan boss insists no-one up to and including eighth-placed Norwich – who have 35 points – can consider themselves safe just yet.

“I always look at the points tally, and I still feel it will be between 36 and 39 points to avoid relegation,” Martinez told the Evening Post.

“That is a little bit less than last year, but even the teams that have already reached the 30-point mark and have a very good cushion can’t afford to sit back on their laurels. As we know, six points in the Premier League can be very difficult to achieve, and any team is capable of going on a bad run as we have already seen.

“So I would say that any team that hasn’t got at least 36 points on the board could still be looking at this being a very long end to the season.”

Martinez and his squad arrived in Oman in the early hours of yesterday morning for a week of warm-weather training that he believes will provide the perfect fillip ahead of the run-in.

After their blank weekend, Latics face a run of four matches – against Aston Villa (h), Swansea (h), Norwich (a) and West Brom (h) – that should present an outstanding chance of putting some more points on the board.

And if they can build on the confidence generated by the deserved victory at Bolton, the Spaniard feels another ‘Great Escape’ is well within reach.

“To play the game the way we want to play, you have to have real confidence and real belief,” Martinez added.

“And what’s important to remember is, even though we are still in 20th place, everything is still in our hands – as we showed at Bolton.

“If we can be consistent enough in our performance levels, we will get the points we need to achieve our aims.

“And that should give us that confidence, that belief, that desire to get out there on the pitch and face the opposition.”