Martinez: We will stick together

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Football News

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez expects to keep the majority of his squad together regardless of what division they are playing in next season.

Martinez could face a battle to keep a number of players if the Latics are condemned to relegation on the final day of the Barclays Premier League season on Sunday.

It is has also been suggested several faces could leave even if Wigan secure a favourable result at Stoke to survive in the top flight, but the Spaniard is confident of avoiding major disruption, saying: "I don't think the team is going to break up. We have very good financial stability at the club and we have got a playing squad in which everyone is under contract."

"We have had two loan players that have had a massive impact this season," he added. "But when you have got loan players you can only make sure they are attached to the football club, enjoy their football and always have memories in the future."

Oman goalkeeper Al Habsi has been particularly impressive and was named as the club's player of the year this week.

The 29-year-old, who was seeking first-team football after four years as Jussi Jaaskelainen's understudy at Bolton, was given his chance after Chris Kirkland conceded 10 goals in the opening two games. He kept his place for the season and could be in demand as he returns to the Trotters this summer.

Midfielder Tom Cleverley, 21, has not made quite the same impact due to injuries but has still enhanced his reputation as one of Manchester United's most promising youngsters.

Martinez said: "I think Wigan Athletic has had a big impact in their careers and I am extremely pleased with them. After that, it is not in our hands but they want to be winners and finish this season with a feeling of achievement."

Wigan, who have a clean bill of health, are one of five teams in danger of filling the last two relegation slots heading into Sunday's final round of fixtures. They are 19th but just a point behind 15th-placed Blackburn and need to maintain the momentum after last week's dramatic 3-2 win over now-relegated West Ham.

Martinez said: "We are working really hard to try to get as many points as we can. I believe 39 points is a reflection of a very good season but we need to get 42. That is our focus. It is a final and we are going to prepare as we always do."

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Chris Kirkland
Stoke City
Jussi Jaaskelainen
Blackburn Rovers
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Manchester United
Wigan Athletic
Tom Cleverley

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