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Whelan still keen to keep Martinez

Published 15/05/2013 | 10:06

Roberto Martinez, right, is expected to have talks with Dave Whelan, left, once the season is over
Roberto Martinez, right, is expected to have talks with Dave Whelan, left, once the season is over

Roberto Martinez's future at Wigan is set to be decided after the team's final match of the season when he meets chairman Dave Whelan.

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The pair are due to hold discussions following the FA Cup winners' closing Premier League game against Aston Villa on Sunday. Whelan expects the talks to be "honest" and claimed he would accept any decision from the Spaniard should he want to leave the DW Stadium.

"At the end of the season what we always do is get together and have a talk," Whelan told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Roberto is so honest and I'm honest with him. We put our cards on the table and whatever Roberto says we will accept and we will honour. We'd all love him to stay."

The 76-year-old is holding out hope he could persuade Martinez to remain and lead Wigan's bid to return to the Premier Legaue after their relegation, following eight years in the top-flight, was confirmed with a 4-1 defeat at Arsenal on Tuesday night.

Martinez, who led Wigan to their first FA Cup success at the weekend, has been linked as a possible replacement for David Moyes at Everton.

Whelan had to fend off interest in Martinez last summer and admitted interest from bigger clubs in his manager had remained strong.

"He's being chased regularly by some very, very big and wealthy clubs around England," he said. "We'll have talks to persuade him; if we need to persuade him because he is a dedicated man. He goes by his word. He's so honest and we respect him enormously. Everybody in Wigan hopes that Roberto stays with us."

Whelan's desire to keep Martinez is understandable, with the club set to face a congested fixture list when they bid to make an immediate return to the Premier League next season. Wigan's 1-0 FA Cup final win over Manchester City booked them a place in next year's Europa League, which will be added to the 46-game slog of a Championship campaign and cup competitions.

"We've got so many matches next season," Whelan said. "We've got Europe and there is 46 games in the Championship. It's a fantastic challenge and a challenge we've got to take on board and get on with it and fight our way back to the Premier."

Press Association

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