Reading vs. Wigan Athletic  0 - 3

Article

Akpan excited for Everton return

28 February 2013 21:28

Reading midfielder Hope Akpan is in no doubt his side can avoid relegation this year, despite the club sitting just one point from safety.

Saturday's 3-0 home defeat to relegation rivals Wigan saw them slip into 19th place, but the 21-year-old is refusing to be disheartened.

"We can stay up, 100 per cent," Akpan told BBC Radio.

"We still have that belief.

"Any loss like that is tough to take. Obviously with the position we are in and the position Wigan are in it was even tougher to take. We just need to use that pain to help us get the points we need to stay up.

"It is very tight, there are a lot of games left to play and a lot of points to play for and we need to go into the game with the belief we can win it. We still have that belief."

Next up for the Royals is a trip to Everton, where Akpan will make his first return as an opposition player to the ground he called home for over a decade.

The Childwall native admitted it will be an emotional occasion, but insisted he is fully focused on performing for Brian McDermott's side.

"It's going to be an exciting game for me," he admitted.

"First and foremost I am a Reading player and that is my main focus. I'm happy to be going back to Goodison Park and am super excited. I was there since I was eight and I had a lot of experiences there but you have to live in the moment."

Article

Martinez thrilled with big win

24 February 2013 05:11

Wigan manager Robert Martinez was 'delighted' with his side's 3-0 win over Reading on Saturday.

Two goals in two minutes from Arouna Kone in the shadows of half-time put the visitors in the driving seat before Maynor Figueroa effectively sealed the result three minutes into the second half.

The victory, combined with Aston Villa's loss at Arsenal, saw the Latics move out of the relegation zone on 24 points.

"Delighted is the best word to describe it," Martinez told Sky Sports.

"We knew how hard it was going to be with the recent results Reading had, and we never underestimated how difficult a task it was going to be.

"I'm so pleased to keep a clean sheet today. To keep out Reading with no shots on target was an incredible effort from all the players, and showed how well they were drilled and focused in their defensive job.

"On top of that we were able to play like ourselves, and be ourselves. To score the goals in the manner that we did is very pleasing.

"It was a complete performance in a very difficult environment, at a difficult moment of the season, it was very pleasing for us."

The loss leaves Reading in 19th place and manager Brian McDermott was left to rue two decisions which he felt went against his side.

McDermott believed there was a clear handball in the lead-up to Kone's opening goal, while he also thought the decision to send off Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak 35 minutes from time was incorrect.

"There was a handball, an absolute nailed-on handball, then their guy headed it in," he said.

"The second goal was a poor one from our point of view. They got the third, then Pavel got sent off so obviously it was a bad day.

"With Pavel's sending off, the referee feels it was a poor tackle, that's his decision. Having said that, we have had a bad day, we cannot say that Wigan were not the better side.

"He's made a choice, he thinks it was a dangerous tackle, Pavel's just dangled a leg there and caught him. The referee thinks it was a red card, that it was a dangerous tackle. I know Pavel Pogrebnyak, he is not a dangerous player whatsoever."

Article

Premier League: Reading 0 Wigan 3

23 February 2013 18:09

Wigan moved out of the English Premier League relegation zone with a comfortable 3-0 win over Reading at Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

Roberto Martinez's men took the lead late in the first half through Arouna Kone, who quickly doubled the advantage just before the interval.

Maynor Figueroa made sure of the points early in the second half before Pavel Pogrebnyak was sent off to end any lingering hopes of a home fightback.

The win lifts Wigan above Aston Villa and out of the bottom three on goal difference.

Wigan made a fast start against Reading and almost took the lead in the opening five minutes.

Franco Di Santo jostled his way past several Reading players before firing a shot from the edge of the area which Adam Federici did well to parry.

Reading quickly responded and should have taken the lead, Hope Akpan heading over from point-blank range after good work down the right from Jem Karacan.

The visitors dominated possession in the opening stages, but it was Brian McDermott's side that created the better chances.

Jimmy Kebe hit the side netting from a corner before Akpan saw another effort go well wide.

Opportunities continued to come for the hosts, but at the other end they were thankful to Federici, who produced another fine save from Kone to keep matters level.

Wigan's Ivorian forward was not to be denied and just minutes later he did break the deadlock, deflecting Figueroa's header past a helpless Federici.

That goal clearly gave Kone confidence and he duly doubled Wigan's advantage seconds before the break, latching on to a wonderful through ball from Jean Beausejour before delicately lofting a finish past Federici.

Martinez will have been delighted with his side's first-half display, and the situation improved further after the break.

Figueroa powered an effort under the legs of Federici to extend Wigan's lead after neatly exchanging passes with Di Santo.

A three-goal lead almost became four soon after, Di Santo stabbing wide of the near post from close range following an excellent low delivery from Emmerson Boyce.

Even the introduction of top scorer Adam Le Fondre could not help Reading's cause and their uphill task became almost impossible as Pogrebnyak was sent off for an ill-judged tackle on Figueroa.

His dismissal killed any hopes of a miraculous revival from Reading, and it was Wigan who remained the dominant force.

Wigan eventually take their foot off the gas, and with Reading lacking both ideas and inspiration, they were able to cruise to a much-needed triumph.

Article

Martinez urges Wigan trio to forget contracts

22 February 2013 16:56

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has told three of his players discussions over new deals cannot take place until survival is assured.

Franco Di Santo, Maynor Figueroa and Antolin Alcaraz will be able to leave the DW Stadium for free at the end of the season if they do not agree extensions to their contracts.

Martinez insists retaining the club's top-flight status should be the players' sole priority at the moment.

"We need to stay in the Premier League to be successful," the Spaniard told The Mirror. "Once we do that we can go into the individuals. Their contracts count for very little right now.

"It is pointless going into talks when the future is at stake and we are fighting for that. The club is more important – and individuals won't make any decisions either over the next 12 games."

The 39-year-old is delighted all three players have not been distracted by their uncertain futures.

Martinez said: "You have seen players who were out of contract who lost their places. That wasn't about their contracts, it was their about their levels on the pitch."

Martinez also discussed the club's failure to capture January transfer window targets Aiden McGeady and John Stones.

Of McGeady, he said: "It just wasn't meant to happen. For one reason or another the deal broke down.

"I admire Aiden McGeady, he is a very talented footballer, he has got a big future. When you like a player you always like a player."

And on defender Stones, who eventually joined Everton, he said: "One of the big signings we were trying was for the future. I don't think that signing would have affected our results to the end of the season."

Article

Miyaichi hungry for Wigan impact

14 February 2013 18:20

Arsenal loanee Ryo Miyaichi hopes to make his Wigan return against Reading later this month after a three-month layoff with an ankle injury.

The winger has not featured since the Latics' 3-0 defeat to Liverpool back in November - a game in which he was making his first appearance since recovering from a groin knock.

"It will be a big relief to get back because it has been quite a tough time to be sat on the sidelines," he told reporters.

"I had a groin injury at first when I was with the national team last year.

"That injury put me out for a few months and then I came back in the game against Liverpool at Anfield and after that game I picked up an ankle injury which has made things frustrating.

"I trained after that game and it made my ankle worse but I can learn many things from this injury."

Miyaichi has made just four appearances for Wigan since his loan move from Arsenal in the summer, but is determined to get back to full fitness and help the Latics preserve their Premier League status.

"I want to be able to help the team in achieving safety in the Premier League and it will be great to show the supporters what I can do once I am back," he insisted.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25