Latics sign Stojkovic
Martinez captures goalkeeping cover until end of season
By Elliot Ball. Last Updated: December 30, 2009 9:03am
Martinez: Will have 'big smile' at Old Trafford
Wigan have signed goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic on loan until the end of the season, according to his parent club Sporting.
"We approach the game at Old Trafford with a big smile, praying and hoping the Christmas spirit will be with us"
Roberto Martinez Quotes of the week
The 26-year-old Serbia international's arrival will cover for the loss of second-choice stopper Richard Kingson, who will head to the 2010 African Cup of Nations with Ghana.
Wigan have yet to comment on the signing, but Sporting have announced that Stojkovic is heading for the Premier League
A statement on the Portuguese club's official website read: "Goalkeeper Stojkovic has gone on loan until the end of the season to English side Wigan Athletic."
Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez has warned Manchester United they will face a much-improved Wigan from their last meeting where the Red Devils scored five second-half goals and insists they will do everything possible to "make the fans proud" in Wednesday's Premier League clash.
The Latics boss was on the wrong end of a 5-0 defeat when the champions came to the DW Stadium back in August, but Martinez stressed the result did not do his team justice in game where they kept United at bay for 56 minutes.
Wigan have suffered other heavy reverses throughout the season, none more infamous than the 9-1 mauling to Tottenham in November, but the Martinez reckons his charges are desperate to show they have learned from their early-season failings.
"We all know the 5-0 defeat was not a clear reflection of the performance, when I was very pleased for 60 minutes," said the Spaniard. "We are a different team to the one in the first half of the season.
"Physically we are a lot stronger, the partnerships are there, the players have a clearer understanding and we can change things around a bit. Tactically we are more multi-dimensional and in every aspect we have improved.
"There is still a long way to go because we are very thin on numbers and the way we want to play we need to have that extra support.
"But we hope we can make our fans proud."
Boxing Day's 1-1 draw at home to Blackburn saw Martinez keep the same 11 players on the field for the full 90 minutes - mainly to give those who had been so poor in the first half chance to redeem themselves.
Even with a couple of days' extra rest compared to most sides he is considering making changes, although he has vowed not to follow the controversial move of Wolves manager Mick McCarthy who made 10 changes for their recent trip to Old Trafford.
"We cannot afford to do it because we are quite thin in numbers in that respect but we go into every game trying to win," said Martinez of making wholesale changes.
"What happened in the first half (against Blackburn) had certain needs and we changed things around but had to keep those players on the pitch.
"Manchester United are completely different opposition with different demands and tempo in the game so everyone should be ready.
"We approach the game at Old Trafford with a big smile, praying and hoping the Christmas spirit will be with us. You need to try to get some positives out of it."