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
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
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

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn