Martinez seeks reinforcements

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez admitted he is eyeing defensive reinforcement after the 3-2 defeat by Sunderland.

Last Updated: 20/01/13 at 13:30 Post Comment   

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Roberto Martinez: Looking to strengthen

Roberto Martinez: Looking to strengthen

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is on the hunt for a defensive reinforcement to ease the burden on his relegation-threatened team.

Although the Latics have at times this season looked like taking a major step forward, once again they find themselves embroiled in a dogfight to avoid the drop and slipped to a 3-2 home defeat by Sunderland on Saturday.

And, according to Martinez, the reason is obvious.

With Antolin Alcaraz missing almost the entire campaign so far with a calf problem and Ivan Ramis now ruled out for the remainder of the season following major knee surgery, the back three unit which proved so successful last term has been ripped apart.

It could not cope on Saturday, with Steven Fletcher scoring twice to take his seasonal tally to 10.

And the warning is clear. Unless Martinez finds a solution, Wigan's top-flight status will come under severe threat.

"What is clear is that we weren't strong enough defensively," said Martinez.

"If Ramis had been on the pitch it would have been a very different situation.

"I need to make sure we rectify that and bring someone in who will give us the same strength Ivan was giving us.

"Antolin is still injured and we need to see how quickly he is going to be available because it is very unfair that the players who are here are having to cope with a lack of really good player alternatives for such a long period."

Wigan's inability to resist Fletcher after Craig Gardner had levelled David Vaughan's early own-goal from the penalty spot gave them too much to do.

The hosts improved markedly after the break though, with Roger Espinoza and Angelo Henriquez both impressing on their Premier League debuts.

Indeed, Henriquez netted what Martinez expects to be the first of many goals in English football 11 minutes from time when the on-loan Manchester United man rose to head home Shaun Maloney's cross.

"Whether he is scoring or not, Angelo has the profile of a goalscorer," said Martinez. "His movement off the last man is fantastic and he has that knack of being in the right place.

"Scoring on his Premier League debut is going to do a world of good for his confidence but I don't think it will change his way of playing or the high esteem he holds himself in.

"I have been very impressed with him. He is a young man who plays like a very mature footballer and I am sure he will be an important player for us from now until the end of the season."


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