Roberto Martinez desperate for Wigan to end Fulham jinx

Latics travel to west London tomorrow

Roberto Martinez is hoping a change of fortune will help Wigan end their dreadful run against Fulham tomorrow - but has told his team they will need to earn it.

The Latics' last win over the Cottagers came at Craven Cottage in 2006, since when they have met 12 times, with Wigan picking up only six points.

They have lost their last three games against Martin Jol's side, most recently a 2-1 home defeat in September.

Wigan go into the match in the relegation zone and, asked if it is a must-win game, boss Martinez said with a smile: "It you look at our previous record at Craven Cottage, I think it will be very difficult to see how.

"But I do feel the last three games we've played against Fulham we've been very unfortunate. It's hard to explain how we lost the previous two games at the DW Stadium.

"The last game we had at Craven Cottage it was a very late deadball situation, and after getting ourselves in front we couldn't get a positive result.

"The approach is very clear. We need to be playing well enough and work hard enough to make sure we become a lucky team on Saturday."

A run of only one point from six games during November and December, which coincided with an injury crisis, saw Wigan drop into the bottom three.

And, although they got back to winning ways with an impressive 3-0 victory at Aston Villa on December 29, a heavy home defeat by Manchester United last time out dropped them back into the relegation zone, albeit only on goal difference from Southampton.

Martinez can see plenty of positive signs, though, and said: "It's not frustrating, it's a challenge. We know why we're there.

"The important step now to take is how we're going to change that situation and how we're going to make sure we can carry on performing in the manner we have in the majority of games this season.

"Our performances have improved in terms of the consistency we've shown from last season. It's true we need to affect both boxes better, we cannot keep conceding two goals in a game when teams have only three shots on target.

"Those small aspects are reflected in the scorelines and that's the next piece of work for the second half of the season. But I do feel every day we're stronger, we're getting bodies back, and we're really excited to look forward to the rest of the season."

The good news for Martinez is the injury situation is easing all the time, and his squad has been bolstered by the January additions of Roger Espinoza and Angelo Henriquez.

Teenage striker Henriquez, a loan signing from Manchester United, impressed as a substitute in the FA Cup third-round tie against Bournemouth last weekend, while Espinoza should play some part tomorrow.

The Honduras international, signed from Sporting Kansas City, stayed on the bench for the 1-1 draw with the Cherries having only arrived in the UK two days before but now has a week's training under his belt.

Martinez said: "I've been very impressed with Roger's fitness levels.

"He was involved in the cup because I wanted him to be ready to enjoy the match experience and get used to the environment of the DW Stadium but I knew I couldn't use him because he'd just arrived on the Thursday night and he'd only had one training session. It would have been a stupid risk.

"It's going to take a little bit for him to get up to the needs of playing in this league but he's growing quickly and he's someone that's going to have an important say this season."

Defender Adrian Lopez (hamstring) and midfielders Ben Watson (broken leg), Albert Crusat (knee) and Ryo Miyaichi (ankle) are all some way away but centre-back Antolin Alcaraz is back to full fitness after a long-term groin injury and close to a comeback.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat