Football

Latics at full strength

Latics at full strength (©PAphotos)
Latics at full strength (©PAphotos).

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has a fully-fit squad to choose from for Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Birmingham at the DW Stadium.

It means Martinez is likely to name an unchanged side following the 1-0 home win over Sunderland last Saturday as the Latics firmly put behind them their embarrassing 9-1 defeat at Tottenham.

Martinez is demanding consistency, however, as the Latics seek back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

Martinez is ready to spend in January in a bid to keep the club in the Premier League.

With just four weeks to go before the new transfer window opens, the Spaniard believes he requires another two or three players to see the Latics through to the end of the season.

Martinez feels the current squad needs strengthening, notably in attack after losing the services of Marlon King.

King was sacked by chairman Dave Whelan after receiving an 18-month jail sentence after being found guilty of sexually assaulting and causing actual bodily harm to a 20-year-old female student.

Although Scott Sinclair is on loan from Chelsea, it leaves Martinez with just Jason Scotland and Hugo Rodallega as his primary striking options.

"We lost one player (King) we didn't expect to lose and we sent out a player on loan as well (Ben Watson to QPR)," Martinez said.

"We're a little light in numbers and we need to bring in two or three players in the transfer window to give us the right balance to go into the second half of the campaign with full confidence.

"But we must have players with the right character, who are at the right moment in their careers, who can bring something different to what we already have.

"Importantly, with my focus on the players we have in the squad, the players coming in have to help them.

"So we need to work hard to bring in these kind of players, but not just bring in numbers for the sake of it.

"I will never sign a player because it's the window and it's open, that's not the way I work."

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has no fresh injury problems ahead of the game.

The former Scotland boss is likely to keep faith with the squad which impressed in beating Wolves 1-0 last weekend to climb into 11th spot.

Striker Cameron Jerome picked up a first-half injury to his leg but has recovered and is set to continue his partnership with Christian Benitez.

Teemu Tainio, Garry O'Connor, Martin Taylor and David Murphy remain long-term casualties as City look to extend their unbeaten run to six games.

McLeish has urged Birmingham to be "relentless" in their search for points and will not allow his players to take their foot off the pedal after their recent fine run.

Blues have climbed into 11th spot after a five-game unbeaten run which has yielded 11 points.

It is relatively rosy times for McLeish and his squad after being relegated 18 months ago and then having to battle last season to reclaim their top-flight status.

But the former Scotland boss has his feet on the ground and warned: "You are only a couple of defeats from a crisis."

McLeish added: "The confidence is good and we have been playing well all season. I feel we have done that in 13 of the 14 games and the difference now is we are getting the results our play has merited.

"But we temper that by keeping our feet on the ground. We have got in this good position through determination and hard work and skill but it will not stop there.

"We've got to be relentless in pursuit of points. I'm enjoying and I'm proud of the performances in recent weeks but the players can't sit back and take a breather.

"I don't want any of that nonsense and want them to play every game like it is their last game.

"The players may not play their best on certain days but they can guarantee giving everything they have and, if they do that, I will accept that."

McLeish believes the example of Wigan highlights how competitive the Premier League is.

He said: "What has happened with Wigan the last couple of weeks shows anyone can beat anybody in this league.

"They are a good side but on any given day there is always the fear a big club can do what happened with Tottenham against Wigan. If a side gets two or three goals in quick succession, it seems like you are playing 12 men.

"I have been on the end of similar drubbings but Wigan have shown great character and had a fantastic win over Sunderland."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Sunderland
Football
Chelsea
Ben Watson
Hugo Rodallega
Premier League
Alex
Christian Benitez
Marlon King
Martin Taylor
Cameron Jerome
Queens Park Rangers
Teemu Tainio
Wigan Athletic
Garry O'Connor
Scott Sinclair
Birmingham
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Jason Scotland
Ben Watson
David Murphy

Article Comments

Trending

Read more

;