Wigan prepare for return of striker Hugo Rodallega ahead of Fulham clash


Wigan will welcome back a familiar face when Fulham head to the DW Stadium for tomorrow's Barclays Premier League clash.

Striker Hugo Rodallega left the Latics in the summer after refusing to sign a new contract before joining Martin Jol's men in July.

The manner of the Colombian's departure from Wigan means he is likely to be in for a hot reception from the home fans, but Martinez believes Rodallega will go down in history as one of the club's favourite sons.

Rodallega's tally of 24 goals makes him Wigan's all-time leading goalscorer in the Premier League, while his winner against Stoke in the final game of the 2010-11 season kept the club in the top flight.

Martinez said: "We know Hugo really well. It's one of those situations where I'm sure when Hugo retires everyone will have incredible memories of his past at Wigan Athletic and I'm sure he'll have a really soft spot for his time at Wigan.

"I think it was a really special relationship. Now he's moved on, he's got a different challenge, we've moved on, and when you play against each other you both fight for your own aims.

"But Hugo's past will always be remembered and I'm sure every fan will have a special moment."

Wigan will look to bounce back from last weekend's 4-0 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford with their first home win of the season.

Fulham traditionally struggle on their travels and have lost both their away games so far this season, narrowly against Manchester United and then disappointingly to West Ham.

Martinez said: "They're very strong at home, arguably the best team in the league playing at home at the moment.

"Away from home they've had a mixture but their game at Old Trafford was a game they finished really strongly and maybe they should have got something out of it.

"They have a really strong group of players that have been there for a long time and they have a really important know how about their football club. And the new players have settled in quickly so I think it's a very well-balanced side.

"Every time we've played Fulham they've always been really difficult games, very close, and they come down to small details, so I expect more of the same on Saturday."

Fulham were impressive winners last weekend, beating in-form West Brom 3-0 with two goals from Dimitar Berbatov, a summer arrival from Manchester United and someone Martinez knows his side will need to be wary of.

"He has tremendous experience and is a player who brings that big-club knowledge into a squad, and that's always important," said the Latics boss. "He looks hungry, he looks fresh and that's always a real threat. We'll have to be very aware of that."

When Fulham last visited the DW Stadium 13 months ago, Wigan were in the middle of a sorry run that saw them lose nine matches in a row.

Their home form looked set to condemn them to relegation, with Martinez's side failing to win a match at the DW Stadium between August and the end of March before a brilliant finish helped them secure a remarkable escape for the second successive season.

The Spaniard is well aware of the need to do better on home soil this time if they are to avoid the same scenario but, after a loss to Chelsea and a draw with Stoke so far, he is not in too much of a hurry.

Martinez said: "The way we finished last season was very strong and we were very consistent over the last third of the season. Of course we need to get wins and positive results but how we're going to get them is more important to me at this stage.

"We really looked forward to coming back to the DW Stadium and we've had two very different games so far. Fulham is going to be something different, too. That's what this league brings you and we need to be ready."

Wigan's only injury doubt is centre-back Antolin Alcaraz, who continues to recover from a groin strain picked up on international duty and will have a late fitness test.


Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
TVSPOILER ALERT: It's all coming together as series returns to form
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine