Wigan Athletic boss Roberto Martinez is backing striker Jason Scotland to be a big hit in the Premier League.

The Trinidad and Tobago star – who played against England in the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany – could get his first taste of top-flight action when Wigan kick off a new era under Martinez at Aston Villa tomorrow.

"Jason is desperate to play in the Premier League, and is very hungry," said Martinez.

"His ability will shine through because he is a natural goalscorer.

"Every manager wants a player who has that clinical ability to make something happen in the penalty box – and Jason is a key signing.

"He is as strong on his left foot as he is on his right."

Martinez, who snapped Scotland up in a £2m deal from Swansea, added: "Strikers like Jason are difficult types to find in world football, but he is extremely capable.

"He has got an uncanny knack of scoring a goal out of nothing and he will give us a completely different option to work with.

"He holds the ball up well, is a fine finisher and has a magic touch.

"I have every faith he can make the step up to the Premier League and become a cult hero at Wigan.

"I know from experience how the Wigan fans love a goalscorer. Graeme Jones, Andy Liddell, Nathan Ellington, Jason Roberts.

"I am confident Jason can be the next name on the list."

During two seasons at Swansea, Scotland scored 53 goals from 91 starts – and Burnley had a £1.5m bid rejected for the 30-year-old before linking up with his former boss at the DW Stadium last month.

"We've got a few striking options, but I'm happy with the overall make-up of the squad and I am really excited," added Martinez.

"I'm aware of how difficult a challenge this league presents because we are playing in probably the best competition in the world and there will be some challenging times in the next six months.

"We've had a big turnaround in players, people who had massive roles at Wigan.

"But we've worked very hard since I took charge to find the balance we are going to need, but it will take time to gel.

"We have to look at the short-term first, and that means winning games and making sure that we stay in this league.

"Looking at it long-term we need to go to the next level, and try to qualify for Europe.

"Hopefully, we can achieve that over the next two to three seasons. Wigan have got to establish themselves again – but the tempo of the league is going to help us grow quickly.

"We just need to stick together, supporters and players alike.
"As long as we do that then we'll get through it."

Meanwhile, James Milner, Gabby Agbonlahor and Craig Gardner will be considered for Aston Villa's starting line-up tomorrow and Villa boss Martin O'Neill said: "They all have niggles but they could play a part against Wigan."