Martinez eyes confidence booster

The Spaniard is already under pressure just two games into the new

season after two heavy defeats. The Latics are bottom of the table

with a goal difference of minus 10 following thrashings by

champions Chelsea and promoted Blackpool. With Wigan facing another

tough test next weekend at Tottenham – where they were thrashed 9-1

last season – bookmakers have cut the odds on Martinez being the

next top-flight boss out of work. Defeat at League One Hartlepool

on Tuesday is unthinkable for Martinez and something he could ill

afford. He is therefore likely to field a strong team at Victoria

Park in the hope of instilling some much-needed confidence.

Martinez said: “We cannot be that weak and naive when things are

not going our way, and that has been the case for the past year,

not just this season. “It is something we need to eradicate from

our football club quickly. “It is time to stop giving silly goals

away and do justice to the quality we have got.” Wigan overcame a

poor run of form last season to successfully win their fight

against relegation but their current poor trot began with an 8-0

thrashing by Chelsea in May. Martinez is urging the fans to get

behind the team as they attempt to arrest their slump. He said: “I

can understand the fans booing us off because it is another game we

have not got any points from. “I would just ask the fans to forget

about the scoreline, if they can, and get behind this group of

players.” Defender Maynor Figueroa will miss the trip to Hartlepool

after being carried off on a stretcher with an ankle injury against

Chelsea. Martinez otherwise has a fully-fit squad and could include

new signing Steven Caldwell, who joined the club on a one-year deal

today. The 29-year-old, who was a free agent after leaving Burnley,

links up with his younger brother and club captain Gary at the DW

Stadium following a successful trial. Steven Caldwell said: “Gary

has of course told me what the club is like and how impressed he

has been with the set-up here and I am delighted to have sorted out

my future now. “I have already got to know the lads over the past

few weeks and I can’t wait to get started and fight for my place.”

The Caldwells are not the first brothers to be at Wigan at the same

time; Warren and Wayne Aspinall were players at Springfield Park in

the mid-1980s. Steven Caldwell played in a friendly against Dundee

United earlier this month and Martinez has been impressed by his

attitude. “We have seen what Steven is all about during his time

here – he is a leader on and off the field and a great personality

to have in the dressing room,” he said. “He has shown real

professionalism in his time with us and we are delighted to have

him on board. “He has good experience of the Premier League and has

played in the Champions League and UEFA Cup, plus is a full

Scotland international. “He is a totally committed defender who

will add fantastic competition to the squad.”