sport

RM: Wigan not a stepping stone

Roberto Martinez insists the days are over when Wigan could only attract players by being a stepping stone.

The Latics remain vulnerable to richer foes, with both Franco di Santo and James McCarthy among those being linked with big-money moves during the present transfer window.

Martinez is determined to resist any advances but, as he prepares to hand Angelo Henriquez a first start in Tuesday night's FA Cup third-round replay at Bournemouth, he feels Wigan are a big enough draw on their own.

"I do see a change," Martinez told www.wiganlatics.co.uk. "It is something that we had to do in the past. We needed to embrace it.

"The players were coming into a new league and they knew they could develop and move on. We had the benefit of getting outstanding talent. They needed to adapt.

"I don't think we are in that situation now.

"It was important that we changed it. The players need to know what it means to represent Wigan and, slowly, get them to achieve more at our football club."

Martinez has already spoken so highly of McCarthy, it is impossible to imagine he will not leave at some point.

The crucial factor is it will be at a time of Wigan's choosing.

"When a team like Manchester United loses players because they want to try something different, you realise it is part of the modern game," said Martinez.

"I always feel it is not about losing players, it is about how you are going to replace them.

"It has to be at the right time for the club. And also the right price. And we need to create a culture where we can keep our assets for a little bit longer."

Martinez has repeatedly stated his belief that cup football represents the perfect environment for his younger players to test themselves, and he will stick to that philosophy at Dean Court.

Roman Golobart had a decent debut in the first game 10 days ago and will again be asked to step up.

Henriquez hit the bar in the first meeting, so the on-loan Manchester United man will hope for better, while Roger Espinoza should also get his first experience of English football after the Honduran's arrival from Major League Soccer.