Martinez - Kirkland staying put
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez insists that Chris Kirkland's place at the club is not under threat.
Last Updated: 30/09/10 12:50pm
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez insists that Chris Kirkland's place at the club is not under threat following the good form of fellow goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.
Al Habsi has made an impressive start to life at the DW Stadium after joining on a season-long loan from Bolton, while Kirkland has been sidelined through injury.
The 28-year-old new arrival has started the last six games for the Latics this term, but Martinez denies that Kirkland's position is under threat
"What Chris has done for this football club has earned the respect of everyone and he's a huge player for Wigan Athletic," he said.
"It is important that every time he gets in goal he is fully fit and 100 per cent, and he is not putting himself in a situation that doesn't allow him to be at his best.
"It is important that he recovers completely and is ready to enjoy his football.
"He is one of the best professionals I have ever seen. They way he works on a daily basis has been good. He has been able to have a breather, he has been able to get his body back to normal and now we have great competition in the goalkeeping position as well as everywhere else in the team.
"Chris is a very important player for this football club and that will never change. Playing or not playing, that's just to make sure he is 100 per cent from the injury that he had.
"Chris Kirkland is too important for this football club on and off the pitch and we are just delighted to have him."
On the impressive Al Habsi, Martinez added: "At the moment the situation is that he is on loan and we are just happy that he's enjoying his football, he's settling really quick.
"Now he's bringing in great competition in the goalkeeping position.
"Chris Kirkland has been working really well and I hope he is going to be clear and fully fit for the upcoming months.
"That gives you outstanding cover for that position and we hope Ali he will keep on enjoying his football with us."
Wigan take on Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday lunchtime and they could be boosted by the return of Franco Di Santo.
The former Chelsea striker has not damaged ankle ligaments following a scan this week despite first fears that he could face months on the sidelines.