Wigan to fend off Scharner interest

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The Independent Football

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has urged Paul Scharner to see out his career with the club and nip in the bud potential speculation over his future in January.

Midfielder Scharner has made more Premier League appearances than any other Latics player, now 121, and is a firm favourite with the fans.

However, the quirky 29-year-old Austrian, famed for his bizarre haircuts and dress sense, is out of contract at the end of this season.

That puts Scharner in the shop window in January as he will be allowed the freedom to speak to other clubs and potentially sign a pre-contract agreement.

Naturally, though, Martinez is urging Scharner not to turn his back on Wigan after spending the last four years at the club following a bargain £2million move from Brann in January 2006.

"Paul is our longest-serving player, has a very good relationship with the club, and I've a very good relationship with him," said Martinez.

"But once you get to this situation, it's part of the rules that players can speak with other clubs and look at other options, and I'm sure that's what he's going to do. We need to accept it.

"In that respect we want Paul to stay, to finish his career with Wigan Athletic, and it's something we'll address when the situation occurs.

"We did speak about it in the summer, and we're in touch on a daily basis."

With a busy schedule looming of six matches in 23 days this month, Martinez is confident Scharner's attention will not be diverted by where his future may lie.

"Paul is an experienced man and is focused on Wigan," insisted the Spaniard.

"I'll tell you the truth, he's more focused on the six games we have this month than on his own future, and that's the way it should be.

"Overall, when you allow a contract to run down, it's one of those moments where a player wants to reflect on the future.

"He's been here a long, long time, so it's no bad thing to see how January develops and see what his thoughts are."