If ever there was a must win game then this is it, beat Burnley today and we`ll be 7 points ahead of them and realistically their challenge to overtake us in the race to avoid relegation would be virtually over, lose and the gaps down to one point and we would be in very serious trouble.
The last two games at the DW Stadium have seen the Latics perform very well, the new pitch looks to have made a big difference and they were a couple of fine performances from Roberto`s men.
Liverpool were well beaten and although we lost to Villa it took one of the most bizarre own goals to do so and a point was deserved from that game, so that level of performance is what is required today.
Burnley will come to town knowing that a win will drag us within touching distance and their manager Brian Laws will certainly have them up for this game but the Latics need to stay focused and not end up in a scrap on the field, just play football and get about them and the goals will come.
Latics player of the season Charles N`Zogbia is struggling with a hip injury that saw him retire on 54 minutes from the Villa game on Tuesday, if he`s not fully recovered it will be a big blow but it would give youngster Victor Moses the opportunity to make his first start at the DW Stadium
For Burnley leading scorer Steven Fletcher is set to return after recovering from a broken hand but the battle of the Caldwells wont be taking place with Latics Gary taking his place in the heart of the home defence his brother Steven though will be missing from the Burnley team as he is not yet recovered from injury.
So quite possibly the most important game of the season to date for both clubs, lets get behind the lads today and cheer them on to a very significant victory
What The Bosses Say:
Latics boss Roberto Martinez
‘I’m looking for consistency in our performances, but as happy as we were with how we played against Aston Villa it’s important that we start getting points at this stage of the season.
‘I think setting yourself points targets distracts your focus and makes you anxious the closer you get to the target.
‘I’m delighted with the standards we’ve shown and you can see the responsibility the players have in how they’ve dealt with the decisions that have gone against us recently.
‘We have to, as a club, get out of the position we’re in by concentrating and relying on the fans’ support. If we can replicate what we showed against Liverpool we’ll enjoy the challenge.’
Burnley boss Brian Laws
‘What we want to do is claw our way back into it and bring Wigan right into touching distance so therefore we have to go there and try and win the game.’
Wigan Athletic Team News:
Mario Melchiot and Steve Gohouri are still out whilst Charles N’Zogbia is rated 50/50 with a hip injury
Kirkland, Bramble, Caldwell, Boyce, Scotland, Figueroa, N’Zogbia, Moses, Diame, McCarthy, Scharner, Thomas, Rodallega, Moreno, Amaya, Sinclair, Stojkovic, Gomez.
Player to watch: Hugo Rodallega
If N’Zogbia is out then a lot of the attacking threat will come from the Colombia international
Burnley Team News:
Caldwell, Fox, McCann and McDonald are all rated as doubtful.
Jensen, Mears, Fox, Jordan, Carlisle, Bikey, Blake, Cort, Eagles, Thompson, Alexander, Elliott, Nugent, Fletcher, Paterson, Weaver, Duff, Edgar, Rodriguez.
Player to watch: David Nugent
The former Preston man has been in good form of late and a return to his native North West from Portsmouth looks to have kick started his career
Latics and Burnley have met on 20 previous occasions.
Latics 11 wins, Burnley 2, draws 7
Last Five Meetings
24/10/09 – Premier League – Burnley 1 Latics 3
28/12/04 – Championship – Burnley 1 Latics 0
14/09/04 – Championship – Latics 0 Burnley 0
31/01/04 – Championship – Latics 0 Burnley 0
23/08/03 – Championship – Burnley 0 Latics 2
Mik Jones (Chester)
Why not take a look at our meet the ref article
Heart says comfortable Latics win 2-0
Head says very nervy 1-0 Latics win