Blackpool Vs Wigan Athletic, Sat 16 Apr 2011

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Blackpool manager Ian Holloway believes Wigan counterpart Roberto Martinez deserves more credit and is convinced the Spaniard will go far in football management.

It has been a difficult second season for Martinez in charge of Wigan, who finished 16th under him last year but are currently bottom of the Barclays Premier League with six games to play.

The 37-year-old landed the job with the Latics in 2009 after an impressive stint at Swansea, during which he guided the Welsh side into the Championship and earned wide acclaim for the way they played.

Their flowing style was a major influence on Holloway and he is confident Martinez - although struggling to find success at the moment - is destined for great things.

"I don't think he's got anything like the credit he deserves," Holloway said.

"He's come up from two divisions down and he's taken over at a club which has sold some top-quality players.

"The football they have tried to play is quite outstanding. Unfortunately this level is so tough and there is always going to be someone down at the bottom.

"But as football managers go, I think he is fantastic and there is no doubt in my mind that he is going to be a top, top manager - not just keeping a club in the Premier League.

"I think he will have gone an awfully long way by the time he finishes, because he is a lot younger than me and looks a lot fresher than me! He's been an inspiration to me."

Since watching Martinez's Swansea, Holloway has transformed Blackpool into the dynamic outfit that won promotion to the Premier League last summer and have so far managed to keep their heads above the relegation zone this term.

The Seasiders are 17th, just two points better off than Wigan, and the clash between the two sides at Bloomfield Road could prove vital to either's chances of survival.

It promises to be quite a battle - although it seems the feeling between the two managers could not be more harmonious.

Told that Martinez had described him as inspirational, Holloway said: "He's really the one who alerted me to seeing what else there was out there.

"A friend of mine told me to go and watch them (Swansea), so I did.


"I was amazed at the players he had and how they were now playing - the coolness they had, the ball control, and it must have been something he was doing day in, day out, week in, week out to improve them.

"I had a look at what I was doing and thought I'd better change, so if I'm inspirational, what on earth is he?

"I'm not going to stand here patting him on the back, but he's a wonderful fella.

"He's a Spanish lad and it seems to be bred in them - they keep the ball, look after it. His players do, and he teaches them how to do it."

Martinez insists the trip is not "win or bust" for his relegation-threatened side.

Martinez said: "I wouldn't say it is win or bust, but it is quite clear we need 10 more points between now and the end of the season and we have 18 to play for.

"It is quite an exciting moment for us.

"In the last eight games we played five of the top six teams in the Premier League.

"That is a big ask for any football club but I think the level of performance has been good.

"But we need to get wins now and we are going to approach the next six games in that manner.

"We all know the importance of the points going to Blackpool.

"With a win there you are not going to guarantee you stay up and losing does not mean you are going to go down.

"It is just a very important step towards controlling your fate.

"It is important we take it game by game and give it the importance it gets without losing sight that there are 18 points to play for."

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