Martinez on Blackpool clash (video)

Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez
Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez

CONSIDERING his team shipped ten goals in the opening two games, you could argue Roberto Martinez has done well to get Wigan to within a couple of points of safety with six games to go.

Those batterings, at the hands of the Seasiders on the opening day and Chelsea, meant the season got off to the worst possible start for Martinez’s men and they have never really recovered.

There has been the odd bright moment – beating Spurs at White Hart Lane stands out – but for the most part it has been desperately disappointing.

With just six wins all season, compared to Blackpool’s nine, their goal difference of -23 is the worst in the division.

That said – and worryingly for the Seasiders – confidence isn’t too low going into an encounter tomorrow that has been described by Latics midfielder James McCarthy as “our biggest match of the season”.

Wigan produced an impressive battling performance at Chelsea last weekend, losing by the only goal, and before that had drawn with Tottenham and beaten Birmingham.

After Florent Malouda scored the decisive goal late on at Stamford Bridge, Martinez said: “Our challenge is to carry on performing at that level for the next six games.

“We’ve got 18 points to compete for and I’m 100 per cent sure that if we play in that manner we’ll get enough points to stay in the Premier League.

“I fee we would be top ten if the season had started eight games ago.”

That maybe a little optimistic, given Wigan’s last eight matches have yielded only two victories, but it’s clear Martinez feels his team have improved.

That’s just as well, for lose tomorrow and they really would be in serious trouble.

Midfielder McCarthy said: “You can’t put into words how big this match against Blackpool is going to be.

“Our preparation over the last few weeks has served us well and got us into a great frame of mind. We know we’ll be able to give Blackpool a real game.

“We need to find that little bit of a cutting edge up front that at times we just lack. It showed at times against Chelsea and we need to get it back for the biggest game of the season.”

That cutting edge certainly needs sharpening. Only Hugo Rodallega has looked anywhere approaching dangerous and his seven goals comfortably make him Latics’ top scorer.

Charles N’Zogbia is a matchwinner on his day but has only four goals this term, the same number as on-loan Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley.

The superstitious among you should note that Cleverley scored twice against Blackpool in the Championship last season, while on loan at Watford.