Roberto Martinez takes his Latics side south to face bottom of the table Portsmouth hoping to put a harrowing week behind him following Fergiegate and then the Marlon King fiasco which all would have provided an unwelcome distraction to the preparation for todays game.
There have been injury scares this week with Paul Scharner straining his hamstring and Chris Kirkland is still troubled with his finger but both should play, definitely out is Maynor Figueroa and I would be surprised if this didn`t signal a first team recall for the classy Erik Edman who being a natural left back would obviously slot straight into the position.
Martinez will be hoping to build on the excellent away win at Burnley whilst for Pompey boss Paul Hart the midweek Carling Cup victory over Stoke would have given the Fratton Park club a little home cheer.
Without a home league win all season the pressure is on Wigan born Hart and if Pompey are to pull away from the relegation zone then they need to start picking points up on home turf, they will see todays game as one they could win, I see it as one the Latics should win.
What The Bosses Say:
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
‘In a way I’m pleased Portsmouth got a good result in the Carling Cup the other night, against a good Premier League side in Stoke City’
‘They have been performing better than the table suggests, and we need to be ready for what is going to be a very tough game.
‘We need to forget about their league position, and concentrate on what is going to be a big challenge for us, in an atmosphere that can be electric.’
Pompey boss Paul Hart:
‘We know what we’ve got to do and we’ve been very close to doing it.
‘You can see from our performances that we play to win. We’ve been doing everything that any team can possibly do.
‘We’ve done everything bar win a game. Look at the matches against Everton and Spurs where we’ve played extremely well and done everything but put the ball in the back of the net.
‘Wigan are a very good side. They’re organised and extremely well drilled. They’ve got a good manager who’s employed his beliefs and principles.
‘They’ll be an extremely difficult side to play against. But we’re bottom of the table so every game is the same: must-win.’
Portsmouth Team News:
Heman Hreidarsson is still out, John Utaka and Papa Bouba Diop both face a race to be fit.
James, Finnan, Wilson, Kaboul, Ben-Haim, Yebda, Boateng, O’Hara, Mokoena, Smith, Brown, Piquionne, Dindane, Ashdown, Mullins, Vanden Borre, Webber, Kanu, Belhadj.
Player to watch: Michael Brown
Brownie be will fired up facing the Latics following his summer move south and we all know how competitive he can be, will be good to see an old favourite again
Wigan Athletic Team News:
Maynor Figueroa definitely out, Paul Scharner has a hamstring strain and Chris Kirkland a sore finger but both should play.
Erik Edman could come in for Figueroa
Kirkland, Melchiot, Edman, Boyce, Bramble, N’Zogbia, Diame, Thomas, Scharner, Gomez, Rodallega, Scotland, Pollitt, Cho, Koumas, Sinclair, Kapo, King, Kingson, McCarthy, de Ridder, Kupisz, Cywka, Holt
Player to watch: Hugo Rodallega
Hugo is in sensational form at the mment, not just his goalscoring but all round play
Todays game will be the 16th meeting between the two clubs in all competitions, results in the previous 15 are:
Latics have won 5, Pompey 8, draws 2
Last Five Meetings:
24/05/09: Premier League: Latics 1 Portsmouth 0
01/11/08: Premier League: Portsmouth 1 Latics 2
29/03/08: Premier League: Portsmouth 2 Latics 0
20/10/07: Premier League: Latics 0 Portsmouth 2
03/02/07: Premier League: Latics 1 Portsmouth 0
Alan Wiley (Burtonwood)
Meet the ref article here
Heart Says 2-0 Latics win
Head says 2-1 Latics win