It’s a relegation six-pointer down at the bottom of the Championship at the DW Stadium on Saturday, one which pits two sides that met just over a month ago in the Emirates FA Cup third round, at the same venue, where Wigan overcame Forest rather comfortably 2-0.
Wigan Athletic will be looking to bounce back following their disappointing yet spirited defeat in the capital on Tuesday night against Queens Park Rangers. Despite the loss, Wigan looked sharp in spells and there were positives, such as Omar Bogle bagging his third goal in Wigan colours since signing on Deadline Day.
The other positive for Latics was Bristol City’s 0-2 defeat at Ashton Gate on Wednesday night to Fulham, which kept Wigan still within two points of climbing out of the relegation zone. A win for The Tics against Nottingham Forest on Saturday could only see them climb one place at best, however, crucially it could lift them out of the bottom three as long as Bristol City fail to get anything away at league leaders Newcastle United. Wigan will be boosted by Friday evenings fixtures, as defeat for Wolves against midlands rivals Birmingham City at Molineux saw them drop a place, below Burton Albion, who managed to get a point at home to Blackburn Rovers.
Forest on the other-hand come into the game off the back of three straight defeats and know they must win to give themselves more breathing space above the relegation zone. Their latest defeat, at home to Sheffield Wednesday, was a tad unlucky however. As The Reds were made to rue missed chances, including a missed penalty by loanee Ross McCormack in the first-half, whilst the game still 0-0.
A Forest win could see them leapfrog midlands rivals Aston Villa, up into 17th place and move within a point of Queens Park Rangers and Brentford, arguably, getting them out of relegation trouble this campaign, if results go their way. However, defeat for Forest would see them drop a place into 19th on goal difference and within three points of the relegation zone with sides such as Wolves, Bristol City and Blackburn Rovers having games in hand.
The sides have met five times in total at The DW Stadium. With Wigan winning twice and the sides drawing three times, Nottingham Forest are yet to win at Wigan. The sides have met twice this season, as previously mentioned, Wigan beat Forest 2-0 in The Emirates FA Cup third round, with goals either side of the half from Will Grigg and Yanic Wildschut. They also met back in August at The City Ground in the Championship fixture, which ended in a seven-goal thriller, in favour of the hosts. For the hosts, Oliver Burke bagged himself a brace, with Britt Assombalonga opening the scoring for the hosts and Thomas Lam winning the game in the 90th minute. Latics’ goalscorers on the day were Michael Jacobs and a brace from Will Grigg.
Warren Joyce is expected to be without midfielder Shaun MacDonald as he recovers from his injury, which forced him off against local rivals Preston North End, last Saturday. Michael Jacobs isn’t expected to be quite ready for a return to the squad yet either, as he has a hamstring problem.
Forest interim boss, Gary Brazil, is expected to be sweating on the fitness of Jack Hobbs, Matt Mills and Michael Mancienne, who all face late fitness tests, having missed the previous games through injuries. Chris Cohen and Armand Traore are both available for selection by Brazil after they completed an under 23s game against Hull City earlier this week.
Wigan (Expected): Gilks; Connolly, Buxton, Burn, Warnock; Obertan, Power, Morsy, Tunnicliffe; Grigg, Bogle.
Nottingham Forest (Expected): Smith; Lichaj, Hobbs, Fox, Pinillos; Cash, Vaughan, Osborn, Ward, Brereton, McCormack.
Featured image credit: David Ashcroft