Martinez ready for hardest test

by Michelle Fortune , 28 February 2013

Roberto Martinez is gearing up for the hardest battle of his four-year reign at Wigan as he tried to keep the Latics in the Premier League.

Wigan earned promotion to the Premier League in 2005 and have managed to hold on to the place in the top division ever since, although they flirted with relegation more than once.

Martinez' side are currently just above the drop zone, courtesy of a better goal difference, but they will need as many points as possible from their final 11 games if they are to retain their Premier League status.

"We need as many points as we can get," Martinez admitted. "We have been in this situation time after time but I do feel the fight we are involved in this season is going to be the hardest out of the last four years.

"Looking at the table now, I do feel there are more teams involved and, with the manner the league is developing, there are certain teams starting to drop their levels.

"Until the last day of the season many teams could get involved in that fight. I do think the level of the bottom 10 teams is very close, I don't think there are many differences.

"I think it is more open than the table shows at this time. There are 33 points to play for - a huge amount of points. Many things will happen between now and the end of the season."

Wigan also have the FA Cup to think about after reaching the quarter-final stage but Martinez is not concerned at the extra competition. Indeed, he believes it will only benefit his side.

"It will help now. We have been making nine, eight, six changes in the FA Cup but there are two big lessons to get out of it," he said.

"First the youngsters at the club are getting a good education so when they play in the first team they are ready and, second, the FA Cup success has helped us in the confidence and belief we bring into the league."

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