Wigan Athletic travel the short distance to the Reebok stadium to face very near neighbours Bolton Wanderers in this the last game of 2008
Latics are hot off the Boxing Day win over Newcastle United that saw a rampant Wigan side totally destroy the Geordies and though the score line of 2-1 doesn`t reflect this with more clinical finishing it could have easily been 4 or 5-1
In contrast Bolton took a bit of a tonking at Anfield and they ran out 3-0 losers to Liverpool getting star defender Gary Cahill injured in the process making him a doubt for todays game.
Bolton have had quite a good season, out stretching most peoples expectations of them, most pundits had the Wanderers tipped for a relegation battle this time round and a lot of the Trotters fans also were worried before the season started.
A good run of results has seen the Reebok side in mid-table for the majority of the season and as we go into todays game they are just 2 points and one place below the Latics in 10th.
With a great run of form going Steve Bruce will be anxious for it to continue this afternoon and will see the game as a possibility of cementing Latics firmly in mid-table mediocrity, just where we want to be.
Just a word of caution, last season we came into this game full of hope and optimism and got firmly bashed 4-1 and it could and should have been worse, lets make today payback for then.
What the bosses say:
Latics boss Steve Bruce
‘We switched off against Newcastle and we’ve got to learn that we cannot take the foot off the gas.
‘We were all over them and gave them problems all afternoon – it was a good performance and convincing apart from the last few minutes.’
‘The biggest job I’ve got is holding on to all (the players). There’s constant speculation for everybody because we have got a good team.
‘We’ve done a good job in turning around the club and bringing some good players here. The last thing I want to do is dismantle it.’
Bolton boss Gary Megson
‘There is a chasm appearing between the top clubs and the rest. Our season will not be dictated by how we get on against clubs like Liverpool.
‘We have won five of our last nine games, and the four we’ve lost have all been against the current top four.
‘So we have to make sure we beat the teams who are similar to ourselves, and that starts with Wigan.’
Bolton Wandrers Team News:
Bolton defender Gary Cahill, who injured a rib in the Liverpool game, is a doubt
Jaaskelainen, Nolan, Cahill, Steinsson, Muamba, Gardner, Samuel, Taylor, Elmander, A.O’Brien, McCann, Al Habsi, Davies, Shittu, Smolareck, Riga, Basham, Obadeyi.
Player to watch: Kevin Davies
Dirty, nasty Mr Elbows, but puts himself on the line for his club
Wigan Athletic Team News:
Confusion over Lee Cattermole, is he suspended or not? Catts picked up 5 bookings giving him a 1 match suspension but it may only come into effect next Friday
Edman still not ready so a virtual full squad for Bruce although the mysterious Kapo is nowhere to be seen.
Kirkland, Melchiot, Scharner, Bramble, Figueroa, Valencia, Palacios, Taylor, Zaki, Heskey, Pollitt, Boyce, Kilbane, Brown, Koumas, De Ridder, Camara, Cattermole
Player to watch: Antonio Valencia
The Ecuadorian is in scintilating form at the moment and destroyed Newscastle on Boxing Day, is there a better right sided midfield player in the Premier League this season? I dont think so
Bolton 4-1 Latics
Referee – Martin Atkinson
Total League Games
Latics 10 wins, Bolton 9, Draws 3
There has never been a goal less draw between the two sides
Phil Dowd (Stoke)
Games – 11
Yellows – 32
Reds – 2
Heart says 0-2 Latics win
Head says 0-2 Latics win
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White Hart Lane
Friday 2/01/09 8pm
Latics Vs Spurs