Roberto Martinez insists forgotten man Hendry Thomas still has a future at Wigan - and intends to prove it by offering the midfielder a new contract.
The Honduran made just his second appearance of the season last Saturday against Swindon, though he could not stop the Latics losing to their League Two opponents in the third round of the FA Cup.
Thomas has not featured in league action since 1st February last year but could now be given a chance in the absence of Mohamed Diame, who is away at the African Cup of Nations with Senegal.
"We all know what Hendry has done over the past two seasons," Martinez told the Wigan Evening Post. "For a foreign player to make over 50 starts in the Premier League is a massive return.
"He's very close to the first team, but that's purely down to the competition of midfielders at the club.
"It could be that Hendry takes his chance (in Diame's absence) and plays a big role for us.
"We also want to sit down and try to extend his contract, that would be our view. Hendry needs to be happy with it, and I know that he wants to play.
"Nothing's changed in my eyes. It's just that other players have taken their opportunities and kept their places."
Even if he does not force his way back into the first team immediately, Martinez has no plans to let Thomas leave the DW Stadium during the January transfer window.
"He's a solid person and I wouldn't like to lose him in January - playing or not playing," the Spaniard added.