Martinez upbeat on survival
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez remains convinced that his side can avoid relegation from the Premier League this season.
Last Updated: 25/01/12 3:35pm
Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez remains convinced that his side can avoid relegation from the Premier League this season.
The Latics are rock-bottom of the table and four points from safety having not won since early-December.
They face high-flying Tottenham next Tuesday, before crucial meetings with Everton and Bolton as they bid to survive in the top flight for the seventh consecutive season.
Last season, Wigan stayed in the league by three points as they finished 16th - above Blackpool, Birmingham, West Ham and Wolves.
Martinez believes the club's previous lessons in survival have equipped them for the final push in the current campaign.
He told the Wigan Observer: "I don't think the situation at the moment is any different from the ones we've faced in the past.
"If you listen to anyone outside Wigan, I don't think many of them have really high hopes for us.
"But I think that's probably the biggest strength we've got - that siege mentality - and we need to take advantage of that.
"We know what we have to do and we know how we are going to achieve it. It's just a matter of working as hard as we can to maintain our standards.
"It's always nice to have that added motivation to achieve, and it makes it sweeter when you do it."
Meanwhile, the Latics have agreed a deal with highly-rated 19-year-old goalkeeper Lee Nicholls.
The England youth international has signed a contract which will expire in the summer of 2014 and he has vowed to challenge Ali Al Habsi for a starting place in Martinez's side.
He told the Wigan Evening Post: "It's been amazing since I moved up to the first-team squad, and I love it here at Wigan.
"There's no better place to continue my education, and I'm learning so much from the senior guys all the time.
"I've enjoyed travelling with them, seeing what they do and how they prepare for games - and hopefully one day that'll be me in the first team.
"If I can get some more experience on loan this season, there's no reason why I can't push for a spot on the bench next year.
"That's my aim, to play as much first-team football as I can, and I feel I can push on and try to achieve that."