The Latics come in to todays game with Newcastle on the back of a two week break due to Manchester Uniteds involvement in the World Club Championship.
There is a bit of deja vu about today with last seasons Boxing Day fixture not only featuring the same teams at the same venue but also the same referee, lets hope for the same result
Steve Bruce welcomes back Emerson Boyce from a hamstring tear and Wilson Palacios from a 1 match suspension, Boyce will make the bench whilst Palacios will take up his usual birth in centre midfield in place of the unlucky Michael Brown
Whilst the Latics have been around mid-table all season Newcastle must be feeling dizzy being so high up the league following their win against Spurs at St. James` last weekend which pulled them clear of the relegation zone for the first time this season.
Joe Kinnear is a bit of a character and he will certainly stir up the Geordies if nothing else and today the Latics should expect a ‘blood and thunder` approach from Newcastle in what should be a highly entertaining game.
In three league meetings at the JJB the result has always been the same 1-0 with Ryan Taylor being on the score sheet in two of those games, a similar result today could lift the Latics into 8th spot before we make the short trip over the border on Sunday to our lovely neighbours in Horwich.
Seasons Greetings to all
What the bosses say:
Latics boss Steve Bruce:
‘We have only lost one of the last seven in the Premier League and we could have got something from Arsenal.
‘We are starting to get our rewards. We had a bright start to the season and people were telling me what a good side we were. We then weren’t getting the results we deserved, now we are. It’s also important that we make sure we do not drop our standards.
‘It’s my job to make sure we don’t get carried away with ourselves thinking we have cracked it. We are in a good position and I’m pleased with what we have done in the year.
‘The difference between us now and a year ago is there for everyone to see. The progression has been great and it needs to be maintained. It is our job to keep striving to get better.
‘We have a tough run of games in January and February but we will go into the holiday games with a lot of confidence.’
Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear:
‘Wigan will be a very tough game but it`s one we will be looking to win.’
‘They, like Spurs were, are on the same amount of points so that makes it doubly important to not get beat.’
‘After that we`ve got Liverpool when, if we beat Wigan, the place will be bouncing.’
‘But it`s one game at a time and I`m very confident we`ll get something on Boxing Day at Wigan.’
Wigan Athletic Team News:
Emerson Boyce and Wilson Palacios return following injury and suspension, Erik Edman still not regarded as fit
Kirkland, Taylor, Bramble, Scharner, Boyce, Figueroa, Valencia, Cattermole, Brown, Palacios, Koumas, Camara, Zaki, Heskey, Melchiot, Kilbane, Pollitt, Kingson, De Ridder, Cywka.
Player to watch: Amr Zaki
Following a good rest back in Egypt Zaki should have fully recharged his batteries and be raring to go
Newcastle United Team News:
Joey Barton, Alan Smith and Igancio Gonzalez are joined on the injury list by strikers Obafemi Martins (groin) and Shola Ameobi (hamstring)
Given, Harper, Beye, Enrique, N,Zogbia, Bassong, Coloccini, Taylor, Cacapa, Edgar, Butt, Guthrie, Duff, Gutierrez, Geremi, Owen, Viduka, Carroll, Xisco, LuaLua.
Player to watch: Mark Viduka
The big Aussie has got back to fitness and he always seems to play well against us
First ever Meeting
FA Cup 3rd Round 9th January 1954
Newcastle United 2-2 Latics
Latics 1-0 Newcastle
Ref – Mike Dean
Premier League Total:
Latics 3 wins, Newcastle 3, 1 draw
Games – 15
Yellows – 57
Reds – 5
Heart says 3-1 win to the Latics
Head says close 1-0 in Latics favour
Bolton Wanderers Vs Latics