Wigan V Aston Villa at The DW Stadium : Match Preview

18 May 2013 02:01
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Wigan bow out with pride - Martinez

Wigan's eight-year spell in the Barclays Premier League comes to an end on Sunday, but it will be a moment for pride and not regret, according to manager Roberto Martinez.

The Latics' fate was sealed on Tuesday when they lost 4-1 to Arsenal so, instead of being a winner-takes-all clash, the best Wigan can do in Sunday's match against Aston Villa is go out on a high.

The squad will celebrate winning the FA Cup in the town on Monday evening, and Martinez will not let relegation rain on their parade.

He said: "It's been a tough lesson of what football is all about - real highs and real lows. In our case it was a real contrast - as high as you can get and as low as you can get.

"Tuesday night was really difficult, Wednesday was a difficult day, but after that you need to (move on).

"The support of the fans has helped. They have let everyone know at the football club that the FA Cup win is a historic win and we'll never lose that, our name will never disappear from that famous trophy.

"The position in the league is something we can correct, and that's something we have to do as a football club.

"It's a time to look back over the last eight seasons. To have over 300 consecutive games in the Barclays Premier League is an incredible achievement.

"In the last four years we've beaten all the top five teams, we've played everyone eye to eye and I think we've created a phenomenal history for our football club, which means that once the football club will come back at this level, it allows you to have that direction and try to look for a top-10 finish."

Callum McManaman will miss Wigan's final game of the season after suffering an ankle injury in the defeat by Arsenal.

Forward McManaman has damaged ankle ligaments and, although he does not need an operation, Martinez expects him to be out for up to three months, meaning he will also miss the European Under-21 Championships in Israel next month.

Martinez has concerns over a couple of knocks and niggles while wing-back Jean Beausejour will hope to return from a hamstring problem.

Aston Villa will be without suspended striker Christian Benteke.

The 19-goal forward has a ban to serve following his dismissal for two bookings in last weekend's defeat by Chelsea, possibly handing Darren Bent a rare start.

Right-back Matthew Lowton could return following a thigh problem while midfielder Karim El Ahmadi (also thigh) is back in contention, but defender Ciaran Clark (foot) misses out.

Boss Paul Lambert will begin plotting the second phase of his Aston Villa revolution as soon as the finale at Wigan is out of the way.

The Scottish manager will sit down individually with every one of his players next week to discuss the future before sending them away for their summer break.

He will seek to retain Benteke's services by rewarding the striker with a new deal along with several others who have impressed.

New faces will also arrive, but Lambert admits the blueprint will remain the same.

"You have to keep building," he said. "Next year will be really tough again. Finances dictate a lot of stuff.

"If you go and buy experienced players and names, they command a lot of money. I have to keep building this squad. It will have to be rebuilt. It's still in a transitional period.

"To develop it the way you want - not just the team but the club - you have to implement your own ideas and what you want to do. That's not just on the pitch but off it too."

Asked whether more experienced talent is needed in his squad after his young side struggled valiantly against relegation this term, Lambert said: "Not necessarily. What you're saying there in going for experienced players, as I said earlier, you go for that and the wages are massive.

"That's not what this club has to do. Not now. Not while I'm here. We have to work with what we have got. I know the remit. It's in transition."

Source: PA