Ali Al Habsi happy with strong foundations at the back and hoping to continue recent run.
Oman international goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi returned to the Wigan Athletic starting line-up just over a week ago in Latics’ 2-1 victory against Reading, his first taste of the action for over six months having recovered from shoulder surgery.
Since his comeback at the Madejski Stadium, Al Habsi has gone on to keep consecutive clean sheets against Birmingham City and most recently Burnley in yesterday’s 0-0 draw.
The goalkeeper, who turned 32-years-old today, declared himself pleased with his and the team’s recent defensive record, hoping for a little more luck up front.
“To concede just one goal in three games is a good achievement especially against three teams in good form.
“We’ve got solid foundations at the back now and we just need a little bit of luck in the box up front, but I think that will come and the most important thing is that we’re picking up points.
“We need a little bit of luck to score goals at the other end, but we’ve come through three very big games recently against Reading, Birmingham and then one of the top teams in the division in Burnley.”
Focussing on the draw with Burnley, Al Habsi added:
“It’s important not to lose to the top teams like Burnley, obviously we’re frustrated not to win the game, but we put in a solid performance it is something we can definitely build on.”
During the match, former Latics midfielder David Jones forced Al Habsi into the save of the afternoon as he tipped the ball onto his cross bar moments before half time, but the goalkeeper didn’t want to take all of the praise himself, saying:
“That was my best moment of the game.
“I saw the shot very late because there were a lot of bodies in the way, but sometimes a small touch is enough to keep the ball out.
“I have to thank Leon Barnett for the clearance after it came down off the cross bar.
“Barny’s clearance is the perfect example of the teamwork we’ve got at the moment, we’re all focused on helping each other.”
With a match against second place Derby County just around the corner on New Year’s Day, Al Habsi said the team are ready to go and show another true account of themselves.
“Now we move onto another big game against another team at the top of the Championship and I think if we keep up our level of performance we can get a good result against Derby County.
“It’s going to be a big, big game but I think we have enough experience and enough strength about us to go there and show ourselves for what we really are.
“If we keep going in this manner and we add a few goals to our performances then you never know what might happen this season.”
You can catch Latics in action against Derby County at the iPro Stadium on Wednesday 1 January with tickets available from the DW Stadium ticket office until 12pm on Tuesday 31 December. [Click here] for more information.