Kirkland still in Latics' plans
Martinez offers keeper backing and speculates on Rodallega return
Last Updated: October 13, 2011 3:42pm
Roberto Martinez claims Chris Kirkland still has a future at Wigan despite allowing the goalkeeper to join Doncaster on loan.
The England international has slipped behind Ali Al Habsi in the DW Stadium pecking order and will spend the next three months with Rovers.
Having seen his game time dwindle, Kirkland took in a loan spell at Leicester last season.
The injury problems that have dogged his career resurfaced with the Foxes and the 30-year-old has found himself short on outings ever since.
Martinez, though, insists Kirkland remains part of his plans and believes a spell with Doncaster will be beneficial to all concerned.
"It is a great opportunity for Chris," he said.
"He has been working really well over the last few weeks and this is a chance for him to enjoy his football and play games.
"Chris is a pristine professional. An England player.
"He is special. Doncaster will be a really good opportunity for him to get sharp, come back and help the team to achieve its aims."
While still a fan of Kirkland, Martinez admits it would be wrong of him to drop Al Habsi after seeing the former Bolton man shine during his two seasons with the club.
"In football, you have to take your chance," he said.
"We were all aware of the relationship Ali developed with the fans straight away.
"It shows the nature he has got and his type of personality.
"But it was more than that. His level of performance was very good too."
Meanwhile, Martinez is hoping Hugo Rodallega (knee) and Antolin Alcaraz (thigh) will soon step off the treatment table and play their part in helping Wigan to overcome a recent wobble.
"It is difficult to tell when Hugo is going to come back but they haven't had any setbacks, which was my real concern," said the Spaniard.
"I was worried they would have a problem in their recovery process.
"It won't be too long with Rodallega now. The structure of the knee is fine. It is just bone bruising. I would say it will take him just a matter weeks to get fully fit."