Roberto Martinez says Wigan home form is critical

 

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has stressed the importance of improving their poor home record over the final stretch of the season as they look to salvage their Barclays Premier League status.

Wigan go into this weekend's clash with West Brom rooted to the bottom of the standings but, with fellow strugglers Wolves facing Manchester United and QPR and Bolton not in action, the Latics have a great chance to move out of the relegation zone.

To do that though, Martinez's men will have to achieve something they have only managed once in the league so far this season - pick up a victory at the DW Stadium.

Martinez knows his team must do better in front of their own fans if they are to repeat their escape of last season, when they finished three points above the drop zone after picking up eight points from their final four games,

"One win at home is not going to be enough and we want to change that," Martinez said.

"We had big, big afternoons at the DW Stadium over the seasons.

"We can't rely on anyone else because our position doesn't allow us to do that. That's why it's going to be crucial at home this season and to be ready and help the players to be themselves and achieve what we deserve to achieve."

West Brom will be without leading scorer Peter Odemwingie for the clash because of a calf problem.

Newcastle will hope to increase the pressure on fifth-placed Chelsea when they play host to Norwich on Sunday.

The Magpies have only taken two points from their last four games, including Monday's heartbreaking last-gasp defeat to Arsenal, but with Chelsea in FA Cup action Alan Pardew's men could move to within two potions of the top five with a victory over Norwich.

In this weekend's other Premier League match, Swansea will attempt to make it three consecutive league wins when they go to the team immediately above them in the table, 10th-placed Fulham.

With neither Everton (ninth) or Sunderland (eighth) playing this weekend, a Swansea victory at Craven Cottage would provisionally lift the promoted club up to eighth spot and boost their chances of finishing in the top 10.

"It would be an incredible achievement for the players in their first season at this level," said Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers of the said of the prospect of ending the campaign in the top half.

PA

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