Martinez positive on McCarthy

Latics boss says midfielder will feel long-term benefits of op

McCarthy: Martinez backing

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Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has tipped midfielder James McCarthy to come back 'stronger and better' after undergoing ankle surgery.

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"He's such a young man that, whatever happens in the next two or three months, we need to ensure he comes back stronger and better for the good of the rest of his career."

Roberto Martinez on James McCarthy

Quotes of the week

The 19-year-old Scotsman damaged ankle ligaments during last month's 1-1 draw with Bolton at the DW Stadium and will be sidelined until the New Year.

The Latics felt an operation would stop the injury flaring up again in the future and Martinez believes the decision will benefit the youngster in the long-run.

Stable

"It was to make sure the joint remains stable, which will allow his ankle to heal properly," Martinez told Wigan Today.

"The main thing was to make sure it didn't become a chronic problem for him in the future. Ankles are joints that it's easy to not look after properly as you can get through matches.

"But he's such a young man that, whatever happens in the next two or three months, we need to ensure he comes back stronger and better for the good of the rest of his career."

Meanwhile, Latics owner Dave Whelan has called on his side to up their game on Saturday when they face Blackburn at Ewood Park following their lacklustre performance at Fulham last weekend.

Whelan was absent for that 2-0 defeat after travelling to Rovers, who lost 2-1 to Chelsea, as a mark of respect to former team-mate Ronnie Clayton, who died last week.

"Blackburn played very well and Ron would have been proud of them because they fought hard and should have won," said Whelan.

"I have been talking to our lads and said 'you didn't fight at Fulham but you are going to have to fight at Blackburn'.

"We are in for a tough match. Our lads will have to be up for it."

Wigan are currently struggling in the bottom half of the Premier League table, but Whelan feels they have the fighting spirit to stay in the top flight.

"When we came up everyone said we would go down in the first year," he said.

"This is now our sixth season in the Premier League and it is tough again.

Survival

"Wigan are one of a number of clubs whose primary objective is survival. We will fight and hopefully continue our run in the league."

Tributes are planned at Saturday's match for both Clayton and former Wigan manager John Benson, who also died at the weekend.

Whelan added: "It will be a sad day but at least we can pay our respects to both men."