London: Wigan Athletic, the English Premier League's great escapologists, will aim to perform their latest Houdini act by beating Swansea City on Tuesday and climbing out of the relegation zone. The third from bottom club have been perennial strugglers since being promoted to the top flight for the first time in 2005 and manager Roberto Martinez is looking to mark his 150th game in charge by taking three points off visitors Swansea.
"I never really take much notice of landmarks but 150 games in the Premier League...fills me with immense pride," the Spaniard told the club's official website (www.wiganlatics.co.uk). This football club is an incredible place for me and always will be. I'm proud to reach that landmark but it's important we mark it with a good performance and three points."
Wigan tend to produce late-season form surges and this year has been no different, Saturday's 3-2 victory at West Bromwich Albion providing evidence that confidence is high among the squad.
"It's certainly pleasing to see a real continuity in our performances," said Martinez. "The last four games have seen displays of the highest order and that's when you need to take three points. We are not viewing Tuesday's game simply as a chance to move out of the bottom three. Each week the table has its twists and turns so for me the only thing to focus on is the opportunity to add more points to our tally."
Wigan, who will meet Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday, have 35 points with three league games to go. Martinez's men are two points behind Sunderland, who host Stoke City later on Monday, and three adrift of Newcastle United and Norwich City.
Wigan have a goal difference of -22 compared to Sunderland's -12, Newcastle's -23 and Norwich's -22. A win over Swansea would pile the pressure on Newcastle and Norwich and also make Southampton (39 points), Aston Villa (40), Fulham (40) and Stoke (40) look anxiously over their shoulders.