Latics travel up to Sunderland this afternoon looking for the three points that will go a long way towards Premier League survival, they will be in confident mood following last week`s superb victory away at Blackpool and the recent performances against the division`s top sides.
With no injury worries but Maynor Figueroa suspended, expect the same starting eleven as last week.
A settled midfield three of Watson, McCarthy and Diame appears to be the heart beat of the Latics, with Cleverley and N`Zogbia in support and offering flair there is great optimism that the three points can be a achieved against a Sunderland side that are struggling for form and confidence.
Steve Bruce`s side look to have crashed and burned with just 1 point from the last nine games, chasing Europe in January, relegation form by April, now when have we heard that before?
Bruce`s sides though are always up for a fight and Latics will need to be cautious, but play with the composure that they have been showing of late and the first back to back league wins for two years could well be on the cards.
What The Bosses Say:
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
‘Sunderland have some key players missing but they have a large squad to select from and have spent a lot of money in assembling it.
‘There is a lot of experience and quality in their ranks so I’m sure on Saturday we’ll face a team ready to compete for points and produce a good performance in-front of their fans.
‘You only have to look at Asamoah Gyan, one of the World Cup’s finest players last summer and a player who has made his mark on the Premier League.
‘Combine that with players who have vast experience of football at this level and you’re competing against a well equipped team.’
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce:
“We need the supporters to really play their part. They are fantastically loyal and it is amazing the numbers we get. However, that creates difficulties as well.
“There will be times against Wigan when it is not going to go as well as we would like.
“I used to come up here with Wigan and say that after half an hour, because of the expectations, the crowd will get edgy and then it transcends onto the pitch.
“I have seen it and used it in my team talk when I have come up here before.
“So we need the supporters to get behind the team. We desperately need their help.
“We are struggling and we need to produce a performance which enlightens the fans and gets the monkey off our back.
“Wigan have good players and we will have to play very well against them.”
Sunderland Team News:
Bramble, Campbell, Gordon and Mensah all out injured, whilst Muntari, Richardson, Ferdinand and Welbeck are all doubtful
Mignolet; Elmohamady, Onuoha, Turner, Bardsley, Henderson, Cattermole, Colback, Malbranque, Sessegnon, Welbeck, Noble, Gyan, Zenden, Riveros, Meyler, Lynch.
Player to watch: Asamoah Gyan
We saw at the DW Stadium what he is capable of, great striker
Wigan Athletic Team News:
Maynor Figueroa is suspended otherwise a fully fit squad.
Al-Habsi; Boyce, G Caldwell, Alcaraz, Gohouri, Diame, Watson, N’Zogbia, McCarthy, Cleverley, Rodallega
Player to watch: Charles N’Zogbia
Superb last week, great goal, more of the same please Charlie
By permission of Bernard Platt/Wigan Athletic
Latics and Sunderland have met 16 times previously
Latics 6 wins, Sunderland 3, draws 7
Last Six Meetings
11/09/2010 – Premier League – Latics 1 Sunderland 1
06/02/2010 – Premier League – Sunderland 1 Latics 1
28/11/2009 – Premier League – Latics 1 Sunderland 0
14/03/2009 – Premier League – Sunderland 1 Latics 2
13/09/2008 – Premier League – Latics 1 Sunderland 1
09/02/2008 – Premier League – Sunderland 2 Latics 0
Lee Probert (Gloucestershire)
Why not take a lookk at our excellent ‘Meet the Ref’ article
Lee Probert Card Watch 2010/11
Games – 29, yellows – 69, reds – 6
Head says 1-1 draw
Heart says 2-0 Latics win, as always the heart rules