Hendry still has a big role to play

Roberto Martinez - believes Hendry Thomas still has a big part to play at Wigan
Roberto Martinez - believes Hendry Thomas still has a big part to play at Wigan

FORGOTTEN man Hendry Thomas can help fill the midfield void left by Momo Diame’s departure for the African Nations Cup.

That’s according to Wigan boss Roberto Martinez, after the Honduran made only his second start of the season at Swindon last weekend.

Despite his lack of first-team football this term, Martinez also says the midfielder will be offered a new contract when his current deal expires at the end of the campaign.

“We all know what Hendry has done over the past two seasons,” Martinez told the Evening Post. “For a foreign player to make over 50 starts in the Premier League is a massive return.

“He’s very close to the first team, but that’s purely down to the competition of midfielders at the club.

“It could be that Hendry takes his chance (in Diame’s absence) and plays a big role for us.

“We also want to sit down and try to extend his contract, that would be our view. Hendry needs to be happy with it, and I know that he wants to play.

“Nothing’s changed in my eyes. It’s just that other players have taken their opportunities and kept their places.”

Thomas was one of Martinez’s first signings after he took charge in the summer of 2009, the Spaniard keen to push through a deal set up by his predecessor Steve Bruce.And Thomas was a regular during his first year in England, playing 33 matches in a successful season that climaxed with a trip to the World Cup.

His second campaign in England started well, but he ran out of steam after Christmas and his last appearance in the Premier League was at West Brom on February 1 last year. Thomas’ stock has remained high at international level, and he spent last summer at the Gold Cup as Honduras progressed to the last four.

However, he has once again found himself on the outside looking in at Wigan, his only other appearance this term being in the Carling Cup defeat at Crystal Palace back in September.

Despite his lack of games, Martinez has ruled out the possibility of the 26-year-old leaving on loan this month to ease the wage bill.

“He’s a solid person and I wouldn’t like to lose him in January – playing or not playing,” Martinez added.