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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 22, 2006

Wigan ready to offer Roberts new deal

Wigan manager Paul Jewell is determined to tie star striker Jason Roberts to a new long-term contract this summer.

Roberts has one year remaining on his current deal at the end of this season and concedes the future is uncertain.

Roberts has enjoyed a superb campaign in the Barclays Premiership, scoring 14 goals to do more than simply preserve Wigan's status in the top flight.

Jewell knows the 28-year-old could become a target for other clubs, but is determined to see him remain at the JJB Stadium.

'Jason's contract has a year to go and hopefully in the summer we can sit down and give him a new one,' confirmed Jewell.

'That's what we want to do. We want to keep our better players, and also at the same time improve the squad.'

Roberts, meanwhile, is keeping his options open for now.

'I have one year left on my contract at Wigan and when you go into the final 12 months of a contract the situation is always delicate,' Roberts told bbcsport.co.uk.

'I have to look to the future. We shall have to wait and see what happens.'

It remains to be seen whether the likes of Reto Ziegler, currently on loan from Tottenham, and David Thompson, who was handed a short-term deal until the end of the season in January, are in Jewell's plans.

Jewell added: 'I've spoken to one or two players, and they know what's going to happen, but I'm not saying just yet.

'Obviously, we are already looking ahead to next season and we're trying to improve the squad because we know it's going to be much more difficult as expectations will rise.'

Jewell's initial focus, though, is on Wigan's final three games of the season, starting at Fulham on Monday, with his side still in with a strong chance of clinching a UEFA Cup spot.

The Latics currently trail sixth-placed Blackburn by three points, and Jewell said: 'There's a possibility and we know it can happen.

'So these three games coming up are big ones for us, although we are live on Sky on Monday night - what a thriller that will be! No-one can go down, no-one is challenging at the top, so it could be a record low for viewing figures!

'But then our final home game is against Portsmouth, a major match for them, and then we are Arsenal's opponents for the last game at Highbury.

'So it's not going to be a quiet end to the season, but as always we will try to get as many points as possible and see where we end up.'

Ryan Taylor joins fellow defenders Arjan de Zeeuw (broken collarbone) and Matt Jackson (knee) on the sidelines after breaking a leg in a reserve game in midweek, while striker David Connolly continues to be plagued by a hamstring injury.

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