English FA Cup
January 5, 2013
Espinoza eager to impress
Wigan new-boy Roger Espinoza is ready to "get down to business'' after his transfer from MLS outfit Kansas City Wizards was rushed through in time for him to face Bournemouth at the DW Stadium.
The Latics have been on Espinoza's trail since his outstanding performances for Honduras during the Olympic tournament last summer.
And now Roberto Martinez has finally got his man, the 26-year-old midfielder is eager to get going.
"It's taken a while to get all the paperwork done but now I can concentrate on fighting for my place,'' said Espinoza.
"I just want to say a big thank you to everyone at the club who have been working so hard to get everything through in time - and for the manager to have the belief in me.
"Now it's down to business.''
Espinoza's last appearance on English soil looks to be a microcosm of what Wigan fans can expect from the player, who moved to the USA when he was 12.
In the Olympic quarter-final against Brazil at St James' Park, Espinoza earned a standing ovation for his tigerish display and scored a brilliant goal only to get himself sent off near the end of an agonising 3-2 defeat.
Espinoza collected yellow cards in his other two Olympic appearances, adding to the five he got in the MLS last term, in addition to one red card, so evidently the midfielder is not afraid to tackle and - suspensions permitting - should bring some steel to the Latics midfield.
"He is an excellent talent and every time we have seen him play he has shown the desire that we like to see from our players,'' said Martinez.
"The Olympics in the summer gave a great example of just what he can do on the pitch, especially in his performances against Spain and Brazil.''
The problem for Martinez though is that Espinoza will have just 24 hours with his new team-mates before being plunged into the English game.
"Usually players would have more time preparing for their debut and getting used to their new team-mates, but Roger is so desperate to play as soon as he can,'' he said.
Striker Angelo Henriquez is also expected to make his Latics debut having joined on loan from Manchester United for the remainder of the season.
Callum McManaman is tipped for a rare start, while Arouna Kone is available before heading off on African Nations Cup duty with the Ivory Coast.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe believes Martinez is the perfect role model for aspiring young managers as the 35-year-old prepares to put his side's 16-game unbeaten run on the line.
Bournemouth are yet to taste defeat since Howe returned from Burnley to manage the club for a second time back in October. That impressive streak has lifted them into the npower League One promotion hunt and through to the third round of the FA Cup for the first time in seven years.
They head to the DW Stadium looking for an upset against a Wigan side led by a manager who made his name playing an attractive brand of passing football in the lower leagues before making the step up.
"I think he (Martinez) is an excellent role model to aspiring young managers,'' Howe said. "He has got his clear beliefs and philosophies and doesn't waver from them.
"He is a gentleman off the pitch and conducts himself very well. I am a big fan of his and the jobs he has done at every club he has been at.
"I can't speak highly enough of him and it will be good to see him after the game as well. I like him as a man and he is certainly someone I will be speaking to.''
The only real selection dilemma for Eddie Howe is which goalkeeper he will select.
Former Peterborough keeper Shwan Jalal played in their victories over Dagenham and Carlisle in the earlier rounds but has played second fiddle to the Cherries' current number one David James in League One.