Wigan Athletic return to the DW Stadium after a week which has been very interesting for The Latics. Last Saturday, Wigan’s dismal performance and defeat against Blackburn Rovers led many of the fans to believe that relegation back to League 1 was almost but a certainty, however, just three days later and a win away to Birmingham City has raised spirits and given hope to the supporters of the current League 1 champions.
Wigan’s win at St Andrews on Tuesday was one which took them within a point of Saturday’s opponents, Bristol City, and just two points behind Wolves, who lie in 21st. The Latics won the game 1-0 thanks to a goal from a much improved and club player of the year contender, Dan Burn.
Bristol City, on the other hand, are now three games without a win in the Championship, following the last two results on Saturday and Tuesday ending in City picking up two points. Last time out, The Robins drew 1-1 at Ashton Gate to a Norwich side who look like they’ve blown their opportunity to make a late surge for the Playoffs. The result, whilst a good result for Bristol City, was the last straw for the Norwich Boss Alex Neil, who was ultimately sacked later in the week.
A win for Wigan over The Robins could see the Latics climb out the bottom three and as high as 20th, potentially leapfrogging Blackburn Rovers on goal difference. It would also see The Tics overtake Saturday’s visitors to The DW, Bristol City but defeat could leave Latics cut adrift again, the worst possible circumstance would be the Latics would be five points from safety.
A win for City could also see them climb the table, potentially as high as 19th, it would mean they would be definitely four points ahead of Wigan, going into Matchday 38. However, The Robins could find themselves four points from safety in the worst possible circumstance.
The sides have met four times at The DW Stadium through history, Wigan winning twice, the sides drawing once and Bristol City winning once. The most recent clash at the DW Stadium came in August 2002 in Division 2. The Latics won the game 2-0 with goals from Scott Green and Lee McCulloch. The sides also clashed in the opening game of this Championship season at Ashton Gate, where The Robins took all three points, after coming from behind to win 2-1. Wigan midfielder Alex Gilbey, making his debut on the day, opened the scoring, however, Hodor Magnusson equalised for City, then finally Bobby Reid won the game in the 90th minute.
Warren Joyce has a crisis in midfield ahead of the game. Max Power was forced off in their win on Tuesday with a hamstring problem and won’t be available. Sam Morsy will complete his suspension for 10 yellow cards. Shaun MacDonald will face a late fitness test following a knee injury that saw him stretchered off in the defeat at Blackburn a week ago. Wigan will also be without Will Grigg up front, as he was not named in the Northern Ireland squad this week, due to a knee injury.
Lee Johnson will have top scorer Tammy Abraham back fit again, following his long injury layoff with a thigh problem, which was sustained just under a month ago in the defeat at Leeds United. Fabian Giefer could return to the squad and reclaim the number 1 shirt from Frank Fielding, after his eye injury. Gary O’Neil is a doubt despite having pain-killing injections to ready him for the trip to the DW.
Wigan (Expected): Gilks; Connolly, Buxton, Burn, Warnock; Hanson, Perkins, Gilbey, Obertan; Jacobs; Bogle.
Bristol City (Expected): Giefer; Vyner, Flint, Wright, Bryan; Cotterill, Smith, Pack, O’Dowda; Wilbraham, Abraham.