Roberto Martinez denies bust-up with Wigan striker Hugo Rodallega

 

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez insists Hugo Rodallega remains a big part of his plans and has no issues with the striker.

Rodallega, the Latics' top scorer in the last two seasons, has been an unused substitute in the club's last three Barclays Premier League games.

There were suggestions the Colombian, who is out of contract next summer and has been linked with a January move, reacted angrily to the situation during last weekend's win at West Brom.

Martinez claims no such thing occurred and is backing the 26-year-old, who has missed a month of this season after suffering a knee injury in September, to bounce back from a frustrating spell.

Speaking at a press conference to preview this weekend's game against Chelsea, Martinez said: "It has been made very public that he is in the last year of his contract, so you are going to try to find a story - but there is no story.

"Hugo Rodallega is a professional and has been a very important member of this football club. He still is.

"He has had a stop-start season and we were fortunate his injury at Everton was not as bad as we feared.

"Now it is a matter of getting back to his best.

"There is no hidden agenda or anything complicated."

Rodallega has struggled in the games he has played this season, failing to find the net in 10 appearances.

Wigan actually fared well without him last week, winning at The Hawthorns to move off the bottom of the table.

Martinez said: "It is important we share the burden of scoring goals.

"During the period we were finding it difficult to win games there was too much pressure on certain individuals.

"Football is a squad game. We need to take responsibility and the players have accepted that.

"Hugo has been training very well and I just feel he is very close to getting back to form and showing what he can do."

Wigan have shown signs of improvement by collecting seven points in their last four outings but they now face a daunting schedule with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United in successive games.

Defender Antolin Alcaraz remains doubtful for the first of those games against Chelsea at the DW Stadium despite being cleared of serious injury.

The 29-year-old Paraguay international, on his return from suspension, was forced off during the second half at West Brom with a rib injury.

Martinez said: "The first reaction was very positive.

"We had the X-ray back from the hospital and it is not a fractured rib, which was our first concern.

"But it is too early to call if he will be fit for Saturday or not - the swelling is still there."

Alcaraz could be replaced by Emmerson Boyce, who has not featured for six weeks but is now close to match fitness.

Another player coming back into contention is former England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.

The 30-year-old's recent loan spell at Doncaster was cut short by a back problem from which he has now recovered.

Martinez said: "He has been training really well since he came back from his loan spell at Doncaster.

"It is a matter of him challenging for a position and he is starting to do that, so it is a positive."

PA

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