Wigan Athletic start their sixth consecutive season as a Premier League club this afternoon when Blackpool make the short journey down the M6 to face Roberto`s men.
This will be the first taste of the Premier League for two of Latics summer acquisitions with Mauro Boselli and Antolin Alcaraz both set to make their league debuts for the club and also continue the Latics love affair with all things South American with Argentina and Paraguay now being represented on the Latics League of Nations.
Martinez has been given a great opportunity to get the Latics off to a flyer with a home game against what is traditionally seen as the weakest of the promoted teams, the one through the play-offs, though Blackpool will be no mugs and in Ian Holloway they have an excellent manager whose enthusiasm for the game knows no bounds.
Latics have been quietly making progress throughout the preseason and the boss has been bringing in and shifting out players over the past few weeks, along with the previously mentioned Alcaraz and Boselli we have also seen the arrival of Ali Al-Habsi, Ronnie Stam and James McArthur whilst out through the door have gone stalwarts Mario Melchiot, Paul Scharner and Titus Bramble along with Olivier Kapo, Jason Koumas and Rachid Bouaouzan.
Blackpool have found it difficult through one reason or another to find recruits though this week saw a flurry of activity in the transfer market with Holloway making several signings including one time Latics target Marlon ‘Hommer` Harewood.
Whether we catch Blackpool cold or fired up remains to be seen and one game doesn`t make or break your season but a good start is what the fans want, lets hope that the Latics can deliver
It`s great to be back
What The Bosses Say:
Latics boss Roberto Martinez
‘The worst time to play them is the first game.
‘You have been dreaming about the Premier League and have no fear.
‘Ian will not change the way they play. They will attack and that will surprise people.
‘They go at opponents instead of sitting back. Most teams that come up do not do that.’
Blackpool boss Ian Holloway
‘They played their reserves against us last season.
‘They’ve spent £6.5 million on a striker so they mean business. Roberto is a great manager with dignity so it should be a good game.
‘I love the way he wants to play football and what he achieved last year in his first season in the Premier League to survive was absolutely brilliant. To secure the comeback against Arsenal and secure their safety was something else.’
Wigan Athletic Team News:
Maynor Figueroa has a slight knock on his ankle but should be fit to play.
Gary Caldwell out whilst recovering from two hip operations
Kirkland, Boyce, Alcaraz, Gohouri, Figueroa, Diame, McCarthy, Watson, N’Zogbia, Rodallega, Boselli
Player to watch: Mauro Boselli
The Argentina striker will be looking to impress on his home Premier League debut
Blackpool Team News:
New signings Marlon Harewood, Chris Basham and Craig Cathcart could all feature but Keith Southern and Billy Clark are definitely out
Rachubka, Crainey, Baptiste, Evatt, Calve, Adam, Vaughan, Ishmel, Taylor-Fletcher, Ormerod, Gilks, Edwards, Coid, Eardley, Euell, Eastham, Husband, Sunny, Martin, Omotoyoss, Harewood, Basham, Cathcart
Player to watch: Charlie Adam
Good solid midfield man with an eye for goal, the question has to be can Adam carry last seasons form through to the Premier League
Latics and Blackpool have met 31 times in all competitions down the years with the Latics having the upperhand
Latics 13 wins, Blackpool 9, draws 9
Last six meetings
26/08/09 – League Cup – Blackpool 4 Latics 1
08/02/03 – League 1 – Latics 1 Blackpool 1
09/11/02 – League 1- Blackpool 0 Latics 2
02/02/02 – League 1 – Latics 0 Blackpool 1
29/09/01 – League 1 – Blackpool 3 Latics 1
21/08/01 – League Cup – Blackpool Latics 2
See our excellent `Meet The Ref` article
Heart says 3-0 comfortable Latics win
Head says a lot closer and more nervy 2-0 Latics win
Latics v Chelsea