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ESPINOZA HOPES FOR EUROPA LEAGUE DEBUT

23 October 2013

Honduran midfielder says he’s feeling fresh and ready to go as Rubin Kazan come to town.

Following his successful international duty with Honduras as they qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, midfielder Roger Espinoza said he cannot wait for another Wigan Athletic game to come around, especially after Saturday’s defeat in the Championship.

“That’s the best thing about football, sometimes games don’t go the way you want them to, but there is always another opportunity to put things right.

“We want to redeem ourselves on Thursday, but we know that we’re playing a very strong side.”

Latics’ Europa League matchday three opponents Rubin Kazan sit at the top of Group D, with a huge nine goals in two games to their name, after emphatic victories over NK Maribor and Zulte Waregem, but Espinoza said he thinks Latics have a very good chance against the Russian Premier League side:

“I think we can do well in the game and we need to do well because a result can help us to build our confidence back up.

“If we can get a result on Thursday against Rubin Kazan then it sets us up well for the next match in the group and it would leave us in a very good position.

“We’ve won the two games following our Europa League fixtures and the competition has given us a lot of confidence.

“It has worked well for us because we’ve come away from the games with a great feeling and then by the time the next game has come around we haven’t had much time to think, so we’re still in the mind set of winning.”

Yet to make an appearance in the competition the 26-year-old, who celebrates his 27th birthday the day after the Rubin game, said that he would be honoured to be given his chance.

“I’m back now, fit for the game and in a very happy mood having qualified for the World Cup with Honduras.

“I really hope I get the opportunity on Thursday, I want to give my all for the team.”

Adding that playing in Europe would be a special moment for him, Espinoza admitted there was a time when he didn’t even realise Latics could qualify for the Europa League.

“Before I came to the club I never even thought about playing in a European competition, I didn’t even realise that you could qualify through the FA Cup.

“When we were getting closer and closer to the semi-finals people kept saying we might be in Europe next season and at the time it was news to me.

“It would be amazing to play in the competition and it’s something that not many players from Honduras have ever done, so it would be one for the record books.”

After a draw in the opening game against Zulte Waregem and a 3-1 victory against NK Maribor last time out, Espinoza says he has seen Latics adapt well to the European style and is looking forward to seeing what else the team can deliver.

“The guys who have played in the Europa League so far have done very well and the style of the games in Europa has suited us so far.

“It’s a great environment to come into and we’re in a good position in the group, so it makes it easier for players to adapt if they’re chosen for the team.

“Everybody has responded well to being involved in the Europa League and I think our strategy so far has worked, now we just need to keep building up the points and we need to make sure that we get two good results in the next two games against Rubin Kazan.”

Tickets for the Europa League game against Rubin Kazan on Thursday 24 October will be on sale to supporters up until kick off of the game, at just £15 adults and £5 for concessions. Season Ticket holders can use their season cards for entry as part of their package. For more information on tickets [click here].

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