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Feb, 18, 2013

Martinez: Youth can boost survival bid

Roberto Martinez said his younger players had forced their way into contention to play in Wigan's Premier League side with their performances in the 4-1 FA Cup victory over Huddersfield.

Manager Martinez warned his senior players that they cannot be certain of starting after 21-year-old Callum McManaman scored the opening goal and won the man-of-the-match award as Wigan reached the quarter-finals for only the second time in their history.

Goalkeeper Joel Robles, 22, defender Roman Golobart, 20, and midfielder Fraser Fyvie, 19, all figured in a new-look side who impressed Martinez.

"If that's a weak squad I should play it every week in the league," said the Spaniard. "This was not a weakened side. It was a younger side with less experience, but it was a side desperate to help the group and play more regularly.

"If we were top four in the league I'd say making changes is the wrong thing to do, but when you're in the position we're in with the points tally we've got, nobody's got a place guaranteed."

Wigan, who are embroiled in a relegation struggle, have only won one of their last 13 league games but Martinez believes he now has competition for places as he looks to keep them in the Premier League again.

He added: "These games are fantastic for anyone at the club to show what they can do and put in a really strong claim to be selected in the next game.

"That's the competition I want. When you make six changes and you see them playing with that cohesion and that understanding, it's time to consider them strongly to play in the next game."

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