Wigan Athletic v Bolton Wanderers: Preview
Roberto Martinez believes Wigan will be spurred on in the Barclays Premier League derby against Bolton by a desire to put behind them the one that got away.
The Latics were 2-0 up at Newcastle last weekend with 18 minutes remaining but had to settle for a draw after Fabricio Coloccini equalised in the final moments of injury time.
The result at least extended Wigan's unbeaten run to three league games as they continue to recover from a nightmare start to the season that saw them concede 10 goals in games against Blackpool and Chelsea.
And Martinez is hoping the derby atmosphere generated by a clash between two clubs situated less than 10 miles apart can provide the perfect stage for Wigan to hit back in style.
He said: "They're always really passionate encounters, a real derby, and it's a home game.
"We're coming off the back of a very good performance in the first half (against Newcastle) but we couldn't get the three points and we felt really disappointed.
"So the dressing room is desperate to get back on the football pitch and get rid of that feeling. We're all really excited to give something to the fans to be proud of."Wigan were written off as relegation certainties in some quarters after their terrible start but are gradually proving their critics wrong. Martinez is excited by the potential among the DW Stadium ranks but is cautious of looking too far ahead.
The Spaniard said: "The standards that we've got on a day-to-day basis are really healthy and the competition that is developing is really exciting.
"Slowly you're starting to see a new group of players that is developing together and getting stronger and stronger, that gets you really excited about the future.
"But you need to get the short term right as well, which is why the game against Bolton is so important. At home, we need to take the extra bit of responsibility and carry on the good work."
Martinez will be forced into a change in goal, where Chris Kirkland will make his first appearance since August.
Current number one Ali Al Habsi is ineligible for the game against his parent club so former England stopper Kirkland comes in. Youngster Lee Nicholls will be on the bench, with veteran Mike Pollitt sidelined following elbow surgery.
Striker Franco Di Santo, who had 10 stitches in his lip this week after a collision in training, and Steve Gohouri are slight doubts but club captain Gary Caldwell will not be risked as he continues his recovery from double hip surgery.
Bolton boss Owen Coyle has praised Martinez for the mental strength he has shown in sticking to his footballing principles and guiding Wigan through their difficult start to the season.
Coyle is also an advocate of flowing football and has hailed the Spaniard for persevering with what he believes in.
"I have known Roberto for many years and he is very much a purist," Coyle said.
"He loves passing and moving the ball, and there are tremendous players in offensive positions for Wigan - the Rodallegas, the N'Zogbias. Di Santo is a terrific player, Boselli was a big-money signing.
"These are very good players and they look to retain that possession and pass and move the ball.
"All credit to Roberto because he came in for a bit of flak, as we all do as managers, at the start of the season and they have seen their way through that.
"He has shown tremendous mental strength and tremendous belief in what they are doing at Wigan and they have started moving themselves up the table.
"We know we are playing against a very good side and we are going to have to be at the top of our game to try and achieve a positive result and get points.
"But the way we are going about it, I believe we can be positive and try and impose ourselves on the match."
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