Martinez relying on home form for Wigan survival

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The Independent Football

Roberto Martinez believes home form could now hold the key to Wigan's Barclays Premier League survival hopes.

The Latics had struggled at the DW Stadium all campaign until recording a stunning victory over Champions League-chasing Liverpool last week.

That was only their third home win of the season and their first since November but, critically, also the first since their much-criticised pitch was relaid.

Much of their good work was then undone as they crashed 4-0 at relegation rivals Bolton on Saturday but Martinez is glad to be back on home soil as Aston Villa visit tonight.

"Throughout our history at Wigan Athletic, whenever we have had a disappointment we come together and get stronger as a whole," said the Spaniard, a former Athletic midfielder.

"We are really focused on the Aston Villa game. We can't wait to get out there and feel the warmth of our fans.

"Our need to get points and results is to get out of the position we are in.

"It doesn't matter who we are playing against, we have shown that this season.

"We are going to be brave, dictate things and try to impose ourselves.

"We did that against Liverpool and we need to make sure carry on with our form at home."

Martinez is well aware of the threat posed by Villa, for whom victory would greatly enhance prospects of finishing fourth.

Villa have enjoyed prolonged runs in both domestic competitions and have games in hand on all their rivals in the chase for that much-coveted position.

But Martinez is more concerned about a responding to the weekend debacle with a strong performance than the identity of opponents.

He added: "When you end a game with the feeling like we did on Saturday you want to get back on the field as quickly as you can.

"We are facing an exciting team in Villa. We all know the power and quality they have up front and the talent in the wide areas.

"They have outstanding internationals that give the perfect balance.

"We know how strong they are and how successful they have been in the cup competitions.

"It is going to be an open game and one both sides will want to win.

"They are the sort of games the players want to be involved in and they really can't wait to get out there."

Wigan are close to full strength with captain Mario Melchiot their only major absentee due to a thigh injury.

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