Wigan manager Roberto Martinez says his side have to worry about far more than Gareth Bale when they play Tottenham on Saturday.
The Lancashire side – who lie 18th in the Premier League table, three points adrift of safety – can momentarily climb out of the relegation zone if they defeat Spurs at the DW Stadium, with 17th-placed Aston Villa not in action until Monday.
Curbing the influence of Welsh wizard Bale will go a long way to giving Wigan a vital three points, but Martinez is aware of the quality the rest of the Tottenham squad possess.
“Tottenham can only play with 11. They can’t play with 13 or 14,” Martinez said.
“If Gareth Bale didn’t play it would just be someone else and their squad is of the highest level, so it is not as if it would be substantially easier for us if he wasn’t there.
“We all agree Bale is one of the best players in world football. He will always bring an extra threat, but if you want to beat a team like Spurs, with Gareth Bale or not, you need a very good level of performance.”
Wigan won seven of their last nine matches to survive last term, while they also just avoided relegation in the 2010-11 campaign.
Martinez says a past of achieving safety against the odds has given his squad an “inner confidence” in their bid to do the same this year.
“Every season is different. There is an inner confidence that comes from your own experience,” he said.
“The players went through it in the last campaign and they went through it two years ago when it went down to the last game of the season.
“That is part of our aim. We have to stay in the Premier League. That is what we want to achieve.”