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.

PA

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
News
i100
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall