ROBERTO Martinez will seize the opportunity to ring the changes for Saturday’s FA Cup visit of Bournemouth after admitting the festive programme eventually got the better of Wigan Athletic.
Latics concluded their Christmas schedule with a 4-0 thumping by Manchester United on Tuesday, which came just three days after arguably the best performance of the campaign at Aston Villa.
Four games in the space of 11 days was always going to test one of the smallest squads in the Premier League – particularly with injuries and illness also biting.
And the Wigan boss hopes some players who haven’t been starting of late will be looking at the visit of the Cherries as their chance to play their way into his thinking.
“The players are all approaching this run of games with a very positive attitude and they want to make an impact to help the team,” Martinez acknowledged.
“Ronnie (Stam), Jordi (Gomez) and Callum (McManaman) all showed good signs when they came on against United.
“But overall it was too much to ask of the squad to compete over 90 minutes with a United team full of quality and, more significantly, fresh legs.
“We have been able to take the opportunity to freshen our midfield combination up in the last week.
“James McArthur was rested at Aston Villa and David Jones was given a break on Tuesday because he was suffering with a virus and had to take antibiotics.
“We needed to share the demands of that midfield partnership, and over the next few weeks hopefully we can keep refreshing players in a big point in our season.”
Saturday’s line-up should include the likes of Stam, Gomez, McManaman, Fraser Fyvie and Mauro Boselli, while Angelo Henriquez is in line to make his debut after joining on loan from Manchester United.
Tickets remain on sale for the FA Cup third-round tie, with fans reminded that only the Springfield Stand (reserved seating) and the Boston Stand (unreserved seating) will be open.
Prices are £10 for adults and £5 for over 65s, under 16s, disabled and ambulant.