Wigan lose full-back Figueroa to injury

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The Independent Football

Roberto Martinez has been on damage limitation this week, phoning Sir Alex Ferguson to explain remarks attributed to him in a Spanish newspaper. There is nothing he could do about the damage to Maynor Figueroa's knee, however, and he admitted yesterday that he will be without his full-back for up to seven weeks.

The Honduran suffered the setback at the weekend in the win over Burnley at Turf Moor and the Wigan Athletic manager said: "Maynor has had a second scan and we now know he has a tear in the medial ligament in his left knee. It is not as bad as we feared at the beginning but he will be out for between six and seven weeks.

"Maynor is a strong man and very fit. We will support him as much as we can. It is a big blow when any player is injured as we have a small squad and everyone has a massive role. But it is part of football and you have to cope." Wigan could also be without Paul Scharner at Portsmouth on Saturday as he has a hamstring injury, while goalkeeper Chris Kirkland remains troubled by a dislocated finger.

As well as phoning Ferguson, Martinez also contacted Steve Bruce, Sam Allardyce and Rafael Benitez after they were all implicated in the newspaper article. Martinez wanted to clear the air after denying he suggested the Football Association are afraid to punish Ferguson. "Those managers have probably been in this situation and know how things work. I have had a lot of support in that respect. To speak about other managers you need to win the league. But it is not in my nature to be outspoken."

It was suggested that Martinez claimed Ferguson had faithful followers in Bruce and Allardyce, while Benitez was the target of sniping. "I have the utmost respect for them," Martinez said. "Sir Alex is probably the best manager in the world while Steve has worked under him and we have a good relationship. I also respect Sam's achievements."

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