Martinez admits Wigan's squad is stretched to the 'maximum'

The Latics look set to be without eight first team players, four of which are centre-backs, for the visit of QPR on Saturday, with injuries and suspensions taking their toll

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez will be without at least eight first team regulars on Saturday as his side hope to prevent a third consecutive defeat when they welcome QPR to the DW Stadium.

Ivan Ramis, Antolin Alcaraz, Ben Watson, Albert Crusat, Ryo Miyaichi and Shaun Maloney are all expected to miss out due to injury or illness, while Gary Caldwell and Maynor Figueroa are suspended, leaving Martinez with the bare bones of a squad.

Despite the amount of players missing, particularly at the heart of his defence, Martinez is remaining optimistic and has praised the rest of his squad for continuing to work for a place in the team, highlighting Adrian Lopez's recent performances.

Martinez told reporters: "We've got four centre-halves missing and that doesn't happen a lot but I'm really pleased in the manner the other players have been working, and they've been waiting for their chance.

15/2 Wigan are 15/2 with Bet365 to beat QPR 1-0 at the DW Stadium

"That's what we want to create at the football club, a structure where you've got players ready to come in and to perform in the manner we want to play.

"Adrian Lopez came in against Reading and he performed against Manchester City and Newcastle at a very high level. Emmerson Boyce has been outstanding in that new role.

"I never look at the players that aren't there, it's the opposite. And once we get through this period we're going to be a stronger squad and a squad ready to finish the season really strong.

"We want to be aware of the levels of expectation. The squad has been stretched to the maximum in the last three games with the players that we've had missing and I felt we reacted in a great manner and performed really well.

"In the last two games we feel frustrated that we couldn't get positive results to reflect some of the good things that we've done.

"You don't want to look away from the reality of the next game, which is a very important one from our point of view. We've had two defeats and we want to change that, and we have to change that.

"QPR are starting to bring a little bit of consistency in their play since Harry Redknapp arrived.

"You can see in their last two games, they got two positive results, they're playing with a real togetherness and they'll be looking at every game that they've got in front of them from now on as must-win games to get out of the position they're in."

Martinez had some respectful words for his opposite number at QPR, Harry Redknapp, adding that he feels the former Spurs boss will turn things around at Loftus Road.

He continued: "He brings real experience. In football there is nothing better than knowing what to expect when you go into a challenge, that's a real advantage.

"Harry Redknapp has been in that situation before, he's been in a very successful team that had great times in the Champions League, and that brings a real feeling of confidence.

"He's going to get the best out of every single player. They've got very talented footballers and the moment they get a positive result they'll get a real competitive edge about them."