When the fixture list came out in June this was the first game that I looked for, when will we be showing Brucie he was wrong to leave I thought, then when Lee Cattermole left for the bright lights of Wearside it added even more spice to the fixture but now all that seems unimportant to be honest.
Following last weeks nightmare at No Hart Lane the most important aspect for boss Roberto Martinez is that his side get something from the game and put a performance in that will give them some confidence.
The pre-Christmas stuffing has been well and truly knocked out of the Latics but today in front of what will be a bumper crowd at the DW Stadium they have the opportunity to instil some pride back in the side.
I assume that Roberto and the players have been chomping at the bit all week for this game to come around so that they can get out and show that they aren`t as bad as last week suggests, I know they have been having double training sessions and I cant say its not been needed, but it is now about today and a good response is what`s required.
Sunderland are no mugs, they have had some very big results of late and last weekend they saw off Arsenal with a cracking result at the Stadium of Light and in boss Steve Bruce we all know first hand that if nothing else he`ll have made is team resilient.
So lets hope that Roberto gets the lads fired up, he gets the left side of defence sorted and he can put a smile back on the fans face instead of the manic grin that`s been there for the past six days
What The Bosses Say:
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
‘We’ve had great support from our fans who I know have been hurting with us, but the humiliation is not from a score-line like that, the humiliation comes if you’re not able to find the answers or become stronger afterwards.
‘I’ll guarantee that is what we’ve done this week and we’re going to be ready for Saturday.
‘When you’re hurting from something as a group the human instinct is to get close to one another and work even harder to overcome it.
‘We’ve always had very high standards in training and this week has really highlighted that, which has been very pleasing. The next game can’t come quick enough for the players, they’re eager to put things right and can’t wait for kick-off.’
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce:
‘The countdown for this weekend started earlier than usual, for obvious reasons`
‘We`ve all been beaten badly in football, anyone who has played professional sport has taken a hiding now and again.
‘What is important is how you respond to it and I would expect a very big response from Wigan and also with me going back will mean another reason they`ll want to turn us over.
‘There are still some very, very good players at Wigan`.
Wigan Athletic Team News:
Maynor Figueroa looks certain to be recalled to the starting eleven following his recovery from a knee ligament injury.
Kirkland; Melchiot, Boyce, Bramble, Figueroa, N’Zogbia, Thomas, Scharner, Diame, Rodallega, Scotland, Pollitt, Amaya, Cho, Gomez, De Ridder, Sinclair, Koumas, Edman
Player to watch: Maynor Figueroa
Figueroa will be welcomed back into the fold and after last weeks debacle hopefully he will help steady the ship
Sunderland Team News:
Lee Cattermole and Craig Gordon are both out injured whilst Kenwyne Jones is suspended
Fulop, Bardsley, Da Silva, McCartney, Mensah, Ferdinand, Richardson, Cana, Henderson, Malbranque, Campbell, Reid, Zenden, Bent, Turner, Murphy, Carson, Nosworthy, Healy.
Player to watch: Darren Bent
If, like expected, Bent plays then Latics will be facing an inform striker for the 2nd game running, with 9 goals to his name already this season Bent is on a mission for World Cup inclusion
The Latics and Sunderland have met 13 times in all competitions with Latics gaining 5 wins, Sunderland 3 and there have been 5 draws.
Last Five results
14/03/09 – Premier League – Sunderland 1 Latics 2
13/09/08 – Premier League – Latics 1 Sunderland 1
09/02/09 – Premier League – Sunderland 2 Latics 0
05/01/09 – FA Cup – Sunderland 0 Latics 3
18/08/07 – Premier League – Latics 3 Sunderland 0
Martin Atkinson (Bradford)
Meet the ref article here
Heart says Latics win 2-0
Head says 1-1 draw