Latics will be fired up again when Saturday comes

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Roberto Martinez could be forgiven for thinking that the international break could hardly have come at a worse time for a Wigan side who had suddenly found form with a richly deserved victory at White Hart Lane after their well-publicised nightmare start to the 2010-11 season.

Just as the players were starting to find their confidence and the new players are beginning to bed in, suddenly we had 14 days without a match.

But the international break should also give the players the chance to attain full fitness and Martinez will guarantee that when Saturday comes, they'll be chomping at the bit, ready to prove that the win against Spurs was no flash in the pan.

The positives of the international break don't end there. Despite the frequent flyer miles some of the Latics players must be racking up, the 14 days will give everyone the chance to take stock, and regroup before the next round of matches.

The first few weeks of the season were difficult, what with the transfer window remaining open despite matches being played, leading to players such as Charles N'Zogbia being unsettled due to media talk of a potential move to Birmingham City.

Now that window has been firmly closed, the squad know they are at the DW until January at least, and we should start to see this reflected in steadier performances on the pitch.

The closing of the transfer window brought more excellent news in the form of an unexpected new addition to the squad, with the arrival of Manchester United's Tom Cleverley in a loan move which is something of a coup for the club.

Cleverley, who is already being talked of in the same breath as Paul Scholes at the Old Trafford club, joins the Latics at a key stage in his development and fans can hope he'll have a similar effect on the side as Jack Wilshere had up the road at Bolton last season.

Cleverley was the provider for England's goal in the must-win Under 21 international last week, and also netted a couple for United in their pre-season tour of America, one of them an absolute peach of a goal, straight from the Scholes copybook.

So things should start to look a whole lot rosier in Wigan's garden. Already, the team are climbing the table. The three points taken away from White Hart Lane dragged the club out of the bottom three for the first time this season.

But more than the win against Spurs, it was the performance which impressed.

The Latics were the better team throughout and Rodallega's goal was by no means the only time they breached the Spurs defence.

Strangely, after last season's miserable away record, there are signs that playing away from home may suit Wigan's brand of swift counter-attacking football.

Certainly Rodallega had his most effective game for a while, and there are signs that some of the new signings are starting to bed-in. And Omani goalkeeper, loan star Ali Al Habsi gave a commanding performance between the sticks.

Saturday sees the return of Steve Bruce with Sunderland for a game many are already billing as a relegation six-pointer after both sides have forged unsteady starts to the season.

Sunderland should come good, and they, like Wigan go into the game after an encouraging, if unexpected result against Manchester City.

As always at Wigan, predicting the result is a virtual impossibility, but getting some home points under their belts as soon as possible is important, and carrying on the good work from Spurs could see the Latics pushing on into mid-table.

What we can hope for however, is a better atmosphere than in the Blackpool and Chelsea games. Dave Whelan has appealed for fans to support Roberto Martinez, threatening to leave the club himself should the booing continue.

A win against Sunderland could help ensure the DW becomes a much happier place for the rest of the season.

The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.


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