Steve Bruce takes his Wigan Athletic team the short distance over the border to Horwich today to face local rivals Bolton Wanderers in a vital game for both clubs.
With Latics sitting next to bottom of the table it`s a game that they simply cant afford to lose, and another battling performance similar to last weeks against Manchester City is required.
Bolton have climbed out of the bottom three following the appointment of the tactical genius that is Gary Megson to the boss` chair at the Reebok
When Megson took over the fans were not too pleased, but he has got the team back to basics and they have put together some surprisingly good results, an away draw at Bayern Munich, their last home league game they beat Manchester United and on Thursday they became the first English club to win at Red Star Belgrade.
On the other side they got trounced 4-0 at Anfield where they looked like a school team and they needed a 93rd minute goal to snatch a home draw against some Greek side that even the Greeks haven`t heard of.
With just two places and two points separating the clubs this is very much a six pointer, a win for Horwich RMI and they are 5 points ahead of us, a win for the Latics and its leapfrog time
Steve Bruce will have drummed into the side the importance of the games leading up to Christmas and taking points off those in and around the relegation places is vital if we are to survive this season
‘We’ve had a few tussles over the years, and he’s won a few and I’ve won a few. It’s been enjoyable.
‘Whenever you face one of Gary’s teams you know they will be well organised, hard to beat and very hard working.
‘To be fair to Gary, he has gone in there and shook them up a bit and got them playing the way he wants to play.’
‘Our immediate aim is to get out of the bottom three because we have been marooned down there for a few weeks’
‘Each side we name has got to put in that kind of effort, honesty and drive.
‘If we continue to do that, then hopefully we can achieve our target of making the top ten.
‘We have a nice problem when it comes to selection after the result in Belgrade on a paddy field.’
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
They will have all their Prima Donnas available after leaving them behind following their trip to Belgrade
Horwich Rmi from:
Jaaskelainen, Al Habsi, Hunt, A O’Brien, Meite, Cid, Gardner, Giannakopoulos, Guthrie, McCann, Nolan, Alonso, Speed, Teymourian, Wilhelmsson, Davies, Anelka, Diouf, Samuel, Al Habsi, Michalik, Braaten.
Player to watch: Anelka
The one Bolton player with class
Wigan AThletic Team News:
Mario Melchiot is suspended following his sending off last week, Emile Heskey trained all week so should be included in the starting eleven
Kirkland, Granqvist, Bramble, Kilbane, Cotterill, Sibierski, Landzaat, Scharner, Skoko, Koumas, Brown, Taylor, Bent, Heskey, Valencia, Aghahowa, Pollitt, Hall, Olembe.
Player to watch: Heskey
Another big performance expected from the big guy
Match Facts & Stats
This time last year:
Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Wigan Athletic (McCulloch 79)
4 November 2006
Referee Mark Clattenburg
A bit of History:
Games played at Bolton
League: Bolton 4 wins, Wigan 4, Draws 3
Prem: Bolton 0 wins, Wigan 1, Draws 1
Martin Atkinson (Yorkshire)
Heart says Bolton 0-3 Latics
Head says Bolton 1-1 Latics
Latics Vs Blackburn Rovers
Saturday 15th December 3pm