Following the disappointment of the Boxing Day defeat to bottom of the table Rotherham United in South Yorkshire, Wigan Athletic are back on the road again, this time as they head to Derbyshire to play an in-form Derby County side, who are managed by former England boss Steve McClaren.
The Latics lost 3-2 in the relegation six-pointer, whereas the Rams played a day later in the televised local derby against Birmingham City and won 1-0. The win for County saw extend their unbeaten run to nine matches which took them to within a point of the Playoff places. The Tics, on the other hand, are now only five points ahead of rock-bottom Rotherham and are four points from safety, following their fifth successive defeat.
These two sides met less than a month ago at the DW Stadium, where Derby ran out 1-0 winners, with Bradley Johnson’s looping header beating Jussi Jaaskelainen. However, Latics may have found themselves to be a tad unlucky to not get anything from the game, especially after their second half performance, with the turning point in the game coming from Max Power, as he missed a point blank header, had that gone in, it could’ve been a different game completely.
The sides have met six times at Pride Park, with Wigan having the better record. The Latics have won the last 3 meetings in Derbyshire, whereas County have won just the once, the FA Cup meeting between the two sides in 2005. Whilst there have been two draws between the sides, before Wigan’s promotion to the Premier League, in 2003 and then the promotion season of 2004/05.
The Rams will be without full-back Marcus Olsson for the game, however, strikers Matej Vydra and Andreas Weimann are expected to be back in contention for a recall to the squad.
The Tics aren’t expected to recall any of the current 11 injured players to the squad including last year’s player of the season, David Perkins. Manager Warren Joyce also confirmed that Wigan are likely to be without a couple of players due to illness. This is further evidence that Latics need to bolster the squad in the upcoming January transfer window.
Derby (Expected): Carson; Shackell, Pearce, Keogh, Baird; Butterfield, Hughes, Johnson; Russell, Bent, Ince.
Wigan (Expected): Jaaskelainen, Warnock, Burn, Buxton, Kellett; Jacobs, Gomez, Power, Wildschut; Grigg, Le Fondre.
Featured Image Credit: JThomas