Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has told Swansea fans preparing to give him a rough ride that quitting the Welsh club has helped them develop.
Martinez is bracing himself for a hostile reception as he prepares his side to face the club he left acrimoniously to move to the DW Stadium just over a year ago. Despite the prospect of a 460-mile round trip, Swansea supporters have snapped up their entire ticket allocation of 5,000 for the Carling Cup fourth-round tie at Wigan's ground.
The Swans fans have been motivated by the prospect of being able to voice their disapproval to Martinez over his departure, but the Spaniard claims good has come of the move. Martinez earned plaudits for attractive football as he guided Swansea to the League One title and a return to the second tier of English football for the first time in 24 years in 2008.
That caught the eye of Premier League Wigan, where Martinez had excelled as a player, and he moved back north after a protracted wrangle over a compensation package that reportedly exceeded £2million.
Martinez said: "Even if fans could not understand my move at that time, probably now looking back it is something that has given stability to the football club. It has probably allowed them to have funds to carry on progressing and bringing in players. You cannot control the reaction. I am sure there is going to be a lot of emotions but that is a good thing in football, that there are no indifferent feelings.
"That football club has come a long way in the last three seasons. It is just a matter of having stability and solid foundations because the fanbase, the stadium, the history and everything is ready to be in the Premier League."