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 By Mike Whalley

Martinez wants defensive reinforcements

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has vowed to strengthen his defence before the end of January, but insists he will not be selling key players such as Shaun Maloney and James McCarthy.

Roberto Martinez wants to reach the FA Cup with Wigan
Wigan are facing a defensive injury crisis

Martinez was unhappy with the way his side defended as they lost 3-2 at home to Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday - a result that means Wigan have now conceded eight goals in their last three league matches, and have dropped to 19th place after collecting only eight points from 13 games.

They have lost Ivan Ramis for the season with cruciate knee ligament damage suffered during the 1-1 draw at Fulham on January 12, while fellow centre-back Antolin Alcaraz has not played since August because of a groin problem.

Wigan have since been linked with loan moves for Liverpool’s Sebastian Coates and Wolves’ Ronald Zubar, and Martinez has made it clear that he plans to enter the transfer market for reinforcements this month.

“We haven’t got a large enough squad to cope with losing players like Ivan Ramis and Antolin Alcaraz,” he told the <i>Daily Mail</i>. “We need to find a solution. January is a good moment to rectify that.”

Martinez brought in Ramis from Mallorca in August, but has indicated that this time he will look to sign a defender who is already playing in England.

“It is important we bring a defender in, but I don’t think we will be looking at the Spanish market this time,” he said. “It is difficult for a foreign player to arrive in January and make an impact, but we do need someone.”

Meanwhile, midfielders Maloney and McCarthy have both been linked with moves away from the DW Stadium, but Martinez insists he does not need to sell first in order to bring players in.

“The last thing we want is to lose players,” he said. “We do not have debts and do not need to sell.

“Shaun has signed a new contract and has his best years in front of him. He is one of the biggest assets in our dressing room and is a joy to have at this club. He is an outstanding footballer wherever you play him. For me, he is the best No. 10 in the league. You are not going to find another British footballer with the ability he has.”

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