Martinez: My exit helped Swans
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has told Swansea fans preparing to give him stick tomorrow 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." Martinez also enjoyed two playing spells with Swansea before stepping into the managerial hotseat as Kenny Jackett's successor in February 2007. Despite the likely hostility this week, he still has a lot of affinity for the club. Martinez said: "I don't like to speak about games in terms of managers - I believe games are about players. "But on Tuesday there are probably too many strong links between the two clubs. "My attachment to Swansea, not just as a manager but as a player and captain through very important periods of the club's history, that is always going to have great memories. "In that respect I am sure it is going to be a little bit different but once the first ball is kicked, it is about the players." Swansea, who are riding high in third in the npower Championship, after narrowly missing the play-offs last season, could give the Latics a stern test. Martinez is likely to rotate his squad to keep players fresh for this weekend's Barclays Premier League trip to Fulham. He said: "It is a very busy period - we are playing six games in 21 days. "You cannot expect 11 players to share that effort. We have to make sure we use the whole squad." Martinez must decide whether to recall goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi or keep faith with Chris Kirkland after a solid performance in Saturday's draw with Bolton. On-loan Al Habsi supplanted Kirkland as first choice earlier this season but was ineligible to face his parent club at the weekend. Martinez said: "Chris came in and used all his experience. "I have been extremely proud of the attitude of Chris on a daily basis. He has had a massive influence even when he hasn't been on the pitch. "I'm really pleased we have got players who are ready to perform when they are called up and that gives you great options." Wigan will be without midfielder James McCarthy, who suffered ankle ligament damage in a challenge from Bolton's Fabrice Muamba. The club are awaiting definitive scan results but Martinez has confirmed the player is likely to be out for eight to 10 weeks. Defender Emmerson Boyce is also missing with a hamstring strain but Steven Gohouri is making good progress after a calf problem.
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