Wigan V Fulham at The DW Stadium : Match Preview
Wigan prepare for Rodallega return Wigan will welcome back a familiar face when Fulham head to the DW Stadium for the Barclays Premier League clash.
Striker Hugo Rodallega left the Latics in the summer after refusing to sign a new contract before joining Martin Jol's men in July. The manner of the Colombian's departure from Wigan means he is likely to be in for a hot reception from the home fans, but Martinez believes Rodallega will go down in history as one of the club's favourite sons. Rodallega's tally of 24 goals makes him Wigan's all-time leading goalscorer in the Premier League, while his winner against Stoke in the final game of the 2010/11 season kept the club in the top flight.
Martinez said: "We know Hugo really well. It's one of those situations where I'm sure when Hugo retires everyone will have incredible memories of his past at Wigan Athletic and I'm sure he'll have a really soft spot for his time at Wigan. "I think it was a really special relationship. Now he's moved on, he's got a different challenge, we've moved on, and when you play against each other you both fight for your own aims. "But Hugo's past will always be remembered and I'm sure every fan will have a special moment."
Wigan's only injury doubt is centre-back Antolin Alcaraz, who continues to recover from a groin strain picked up on international duty and will have a late fitness test. Meanwhile, Dimitar Berbatov has taken just one game to make himself Fulham's most important player, according to manager Martin Jol. Berbatov became a instant hero at Craven Cottage last week when he marked his home debut with both goals in his new side's 2-0 Barclays Premier League win over West Brom. The 31-year-old will shoulder the goalscoring burden again at Wigan, having struggled to feature on anything like a regular basis at Manchester United last season.
Jol said: "The big difference for him is that he knows, if he is fit, then he will play a lot of games. "He's an important part of our set-up, of course. He's probably our biggest player. "At Man United, which of course is a bigger club, it was maybe different in the last year or so." Jol looks like needing all his charm in the ongoing contract negotiations with defender Brede Hangeland. The Fulham boss admitted there was little prospect of a deal being agreed soon for the Norway star, whose contract expires next summer and will be free to talk to rival clubs in January.
Defensive partner Aaron Hughes signed a new contract last week but Jol said of the Hangeland saga: "That will take a bit longer because we don't talk to him every day but there will be another appointment as we try to keep him here for the long term. "If that is not possible then we will try to keep him for the next two years." Fulham welcome back Bryan Ruiz and Mladen Petric for the game. Both forwards missed last weekend's 2-0 win over West Brom and will vie for a place alongside Dimitar Berbatov at the DW Stadium. Mahamadou Diarra (knee), Kieran Richardson (hip), Kerim Frei (pelvis) and Philippe Senderos (foot) remain sidelined, while new recruit Ashkan Dejagah is not yet match fit.
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