Martinez: Kirkland ready for return

21 October 2010 04:09
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has complete faith in Chris Kirkland ahead of the goalkeeper's return to the first team, saying: "He's ready."[LNB] The former Liverpool, Coventry and West Brom shot-stopper has not played for the Latics since conceding six goals against Chelsea in August.[LNB]Martinez decided to change things after the thrashing against the defending Premier League champions and, with Kirkland's niggling back injury in mind, Ali Al-Habsi was promoted to the first XI.[LNB]Al-Habsi, though, is ineligible to play against parent club Bolton on Saturday and Martinez insists he has no doubts about restoring former England international Kirkland to his line-up.[LNB]The Wigan boss said of 29-year-old Kirkland, whose future at the DW Stadium has been questioned: "We have to remember Chris Kirkland wasn't fully fit at the start of the season.[LNB]"He's been working really well, he's been pain free for a long time and he's ready.[LNB]"Chris Kirkland's going to play at the weekend and that's something that we're all excited about.[LNB]"Chris is not a young man, he's very, very experienced and he's always performed as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League.[LNB]"He's been a real help around the dressing room, giving the right advice at the right time. He's really helped the team and that's huge credit to him.[LNB]"It's important as an experienced footballer to have an impact even when you're not in the first XI and Chris has been a fantastic example."

Source: Team_Talk