Martinez vows to utilise his squad

27 October 2010 03:44
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has no plans to stop rotating his squad for Carling Cup games after guiding Latics into the quarter-finals.

Latics secured a place in this weekend's draw with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Championship high-flyers Swansea at the DW Stadium on Tuesday night.

Martinez made seven changes for the fourth-round tie, leaving the likes of Charles N'Zogbia and Hugo Rodallega on the bench, as he prioritised Saturday's Premier League trip to Fulham.

And the Spaniard has no intention of changing his approach in the competition, even though he feels the fans want a prolonged run to match their march to the 2006 final.

"If you want to progress in any competition you need to be able to use the whole squad," Martinez said.

"We have got six games in 21 days and you cannot rely on 11 players.

"The most pleasing aspect was that we made seven changes and the players that came in looked focused and ready.

"That is how you develop healthy competition in the squad and it was a really demanding game in many respects.

"I felt the fans showed how much they want to carry on competing in this competition.

"We have had the taste at this football club of getting to the final and we will carry on approaching every game in the same manner. We will try to go as far as we can."

One selection issue which remains unresolved is in the goalkeeping department.

Ali Al Habsi returned on Tuesday night after sitting out last weekend's clash against Bolton under the terms of his loan move from the Reebok Stadium.

That gave former Liverpool keeper Chris Kirkland, who was displaced by Al Habsi earlier in the season, another chance to impress and he performed solidly in the 1-1 draw.

It remains to be seen if Al Habsi's return means he is now first or second choice.

Martinez says he is treating both as equals.

"We are in a great position," he said. "Chris has been working really well and came in against Bolton and played really well.

"We have big competition in every position and goalkeeping is no different.

"There is no number one or number 13. The players are in good form and are competing for the position. That is how we are going to treat it.

"We will allow football to make the decision but to have players like Ali and Chris - and Mike Pollitt when he comes back from injury - competing for the spot is what we need at this football club."

Wigan were given a stern test by Swansea, whose rise to third in the Championship was sparked by Martinez's spell in charge at the Liberty Stadium from 2007-09.

Martinez led Swansea to the League One title before leaving in acrimonious circumstances to take over at Premier League Wigan.

Mauro Boselli gave Wigan a hard-earned advantage in the 51st minute before Ben Watson secured victory with an injury-time penalty.

"They are very demanding games," said Martinez, who was also pleased to see captain Gary Cahill complete 90 minutes on his return from double hip surgery.

"Swansea City give you a real problem and they test you.

"It is important now we focus on Fulham, it is a very important game for us this weekend.

"We need to make sure all the players recover and are ready."

Source: Team_Talk

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