RM: Kirkland has Latics future

BY foxsports • October 13, 2011

Kirkland is putting the final touches to a three-month loan deal with Championship outfit Doncaster, which was announced on Wednesday night even though the contract had not been signed. Martinez does not anticipate any major stumbling blocks though, and is keen for the 30-year-old to gain some much-needed first-team exposure after finding himself frozen out at Wigan thanks to the form of Ali Al Habsi. "It is a great opportunity for Chris," said Martinez. "He has been working really well over the last few weeks and this is a chance for him to enjoy his football and play games. "Chris is a pristine professional. An England player. He is special. Doncaster will be a really good opportunity for him to get sharp, come back and help the team to achieve its aims." Kirkland has struggled to force his way back into Martinez's team since paying the price for Wigan's calamitous start to last season, when they conceded 10 goals in their opening two Premier League games. Since then he has made just two appearances for the Latics, both times against Bolton when Al Habsi was unable to play due to competition regulations. Now the Oman keeper has joined Wigan on a permanent basis, no such opportunity exists and with Kirkland now in the final year of his contract, he will have to do something spectacular to earn himself another. "In football, you have to take your chance," reflected Martinez. "We were all aware of the relationship Ali developed with the fans straight away. "It shows the nature he has got and his type of personality. But it was more than that. His level of performance was very good too." With veteran Mike Pollitt acting as back-up, Martinez felt able to let Kirkland leave, although a recall clause has been inserted into the contract just in case Wigan hit injury problems. Martinez also revealed he is considering a number of loan offers for 20-year-old striker Callum McManaman, who has struggled to secure a first-team berth this term. Along with Maynor Figueroa and Emmerson Boyce, Martinez expected Al Habsi back from international duty on Thursday ahead of Saturday's derby encounter with Bolton. After four straight league defeats and five in all competitions, Martinez is pleased to be welcoming back winger Albert Crusat back from injury, and also Steve Gohouri, who is available again after suspension. In addition, the Latics chief will check on the fitness of midfielder James McCarthy, who missed the Republic of Ireland's win over Armenia on Tuesday due to a bout of tonsillitis. And there was an encouraging injury bulletin surrounding striker Hugo Rodallega and defender Antolin Alcaraz, who had been expected to be missing for a long stretch with knee and thigh problems respectively. "It is difficult to tell when Hugo is going to come back but they haven't had any setbacks, which was my real concern," said Martinez. "I was worried they would have a problem in their recovery process. "It won't be too long with Rodallega now. The structure of the knee is fine. It is just bone bruising. "I would say it will take him just a matter weeks to get fully fit."

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