Premier League

Wigan contract talks on hold

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Thu, 25 Apr 2013 16:56:00

Wigan Athletic boss Roberto Martinez has put all contract talks to one side until the Latics' relegation battle has been fought.

Efforts to persuade Maynor Figueroa, Franco di Santo and Antolin Alcaraz to extend their contracts this summer have so far failed to bear fruit.

"Right now, all the individual decisions are not important," said Martinez ahead of the visit of Tottenham on Saturday.

"Everything is surrounding the final five games in the league and making sure we achieve our aim.

"The club is the priority. At the end of the season we will look into every individual because there are four or five who need to be given some consideration about the next step in their careers.

"At the moment, we are at a stage in the season where everything gets frozen because the only thing that matters is the football club."

Figueroa, who joined Wigan in 2008, has been linked with West Ham while Lazio have been credited with an interest in Di Santo.

Alcaraz, meanwhile, is bound to have his suitors given the authoritative manner of his performances since returning from a groin injury in February.

Unfortunately for the Paraguayan, he is now facing another spell on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring problem in last week's Premier League defeat at West Ham which places his appearance in the FA Cup final in doubt.

The 30-year-old has been told he will spend at least three weeks on the sidelines, which is exactly the time-frame from the West Ham match until the Wembley showpiece with Manchester City.

As Alcaraz is such a key figure within the Wigan defence, Martinez is bound to give him every opportunity to recover, however, he accepts the South American is cutting it fine.

"As it stands it would be difficult to tell," he said. "We are talking about three weeks since it happened. It will be touch and go. It depends how quickly he can recover."

Alcaraz will definitely sit out this weekend's game, with skipper Gary Caldwell set to assume authority in the centre of Wigan's three-man defence.

A pivotal figure in last season's successful survival quest, Caldwell has struggled for form this term and he was dropped after the four-goal hammering by Liverpool at the beginning of March, when he was given a torrid time by Luis Suarez.

Caldwell did return at West Ham last week and should now make his 100th Premier League appearance for Wigan at the weekend.

"Gary, playing or not playing, is vital to this football club," said Martinez. "He is the club captain and his influence to the players is very important.

"He is fresh and ready to step in and help the team."

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