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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: WIGAN ATHLETIC v WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS

23 April 2015

Final home match of the season a must-win clash for Latics.

  • Buy your tickets in advance for discounted rate.
  • First meeting between the two sides at the DW since 3-2 success here in May 2012.
  • Wolves need victory to keep play-off hopes alive, Latics to keep survival bid on track.
Wigan Athletic’s final home game of the 2014-15 season could not bear any more significance as both Latics and Wolves require all three points to keep their respective end of season aims alive.

Latics know only a victory will keep their survival bid alive, though relegation would be confirmed if Rotherham United defeat promotion-chasing Norwich City at the New York Stadium.

Wolves need to win to keep their aim of a top-six finish, and back-to-back promotions, alive, though even that won’t be enough if Ipswich Town secure all three points against Nottingham Forest and Derby County win at Millwall.

Tickets for the clash, which are subject to a price increase on match day, are available online, at the DW Stadium or by calling the ticket office. For full details, click here.

FLASHBACK


WIGAN ATHLETIC 3 WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 2
SUNDAY 13TH MAY 2012
PREMIER LEAGUE
DW STADIUM

Latics pulled the curtain down on a memorable 2011-12 campaign, which saw Roberto Martinez’s side pick up seven wins from their final nine games, by securing all three points against Wolves in a five-goal end of season thriller.

Emmerson Boyce’s double, the second a superb volley, helped Latics secure a 15th place finish after Wolves had gone ahead through Matt Jarvis.

Franco di Santo had cancelled out Jarvis’ opener before Steven Fletcher grabbed a late consolation for Terry Connor’s side who were already relegated at the foot of the Premier League.

Wolves went ahead against the run of play on nine minutes as Jarvis found space on the left, cut inside and produced a wonderful curling finish inside Ali Al Habsi's far post.

Three minutes later, Di Santo pounced on the loose ball when Wolves failed to clear to finish in visiting goalkeeper Dorus De Vries's bottom right corner.

On 14 minutes, two minutes after the leveller, Boyce rose highest to meet Jean Beausejour’s corner and give Latics the lead.

Wolves had to change keeper’s early in the second-half after injury to De Vries and substitute stopper Carl Ikeme denied Di Santo a second and also Beausejour before Boyce fired in a wonderful volley from 
Hugo Rodallega’s knockdown 11 minutes from time.

Kevin Doyle squared for Fletcher to slot into an empty net before the end but Wolves’ miserable season finished whilst Latics celebrated an eighth consecutive season in the Premier League with their supporters.

Latics: Al Habsi, Caldwell, Boyce, Lopez, Figueroa, McCarthy, Maloney (Gomez 82), Moses (Crusat 58), McArthur, Beausejour, Di Santo (Rodallega 79).

Subs not used: Pollitt, Watson, Diame, Sammon.

Wolves: De Vries (Ikeme 52), Stearman, Ward, Berra, Zubar, Edwards, Henry, Hunt (Forde 59), Jarvis, Ebanks-Blake (Fletcher 76).

Subs not used: Elokobi, Johnson, Milijas, Jonsson.

INTRODUCING WOLVES


IN SEARCH OF BACK-TO-BACK PROMOTIONS, WOLVES KNOW THEY’RE LIKELY TO NEED SIX POINTS FROM THEIR REMAINING TWO FIXTURES IF THEY’RE TO FINISH IN THE TOP SIX COME THE END OF THE CAMPAIGN.

Promoted from League One last time out, Wolves, like Brentford, have taken the momentum and habit of winning into this season and they are one of eight teams in with a shout of promotion to the Premier League.

Despite allowing David Davis, Stephen Ward and Jamie O’Hara to leave in the summer, Kenny Jackett kept the core of the Molineux outfit together whilst he added to the side with the acquisitions of Tommy Rowe and Rajiv van La Parra.


The Black Country side could not have started the campaign in much better fashion with four wins from their opening five league games, including home wins over Norwich City and Cardiff City and a win at Fulham, leaving Jackett’s team third in the Championship at the end of August.

Being hard to beat proved to be the mentality Wolves were going for as the season settled down with a 3-3 draw at Reading making it seven unbeaten come the end of September.

A shock home defeat to Huddersfield Town, and draws with Millwall and Latics, the former after leading 3-0, saw Wolves drop out of the play-off places after conceding 11 goals in four games, having conceded just three in their first eight matches.

Wins over Middlesbrough and Leeds United lifted Wolves back to third in the Championship, trailing Derby County and Watford by an inferior goal difference.

November would prove a pivotal month for Jackett’s side’s hopes of automatic promotion, though, as a 0-0 draw with rivals Birmingham City was followed by five consecutive defeats; four of which came against promotion rivals in the form of Ipswich Town, Derby, Brentford and AFC Bournemouth.

The build up to Christmas, in contrast, was fruitful for Wolves as a 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday sparked a run of five wins in six matches, with the last of those victories – a 2-0 home win over Blackpool – a special way to celebrate the life of the club’s former owner of 17 years, Sir Jack Hayward, who passed away in America a few days earlier, aged 91.

Inconsistency has marred Wolves’ progress in 2015, though, and their current position of eighth is a symbol of that with the top six all managing to put together longer winning runs that the Molineux club.

Emphatic February wins over Huddersfield, Rotherham United and Fulham and solid victories against Derby and Nottingham Forest have kept Wolves in with a mathematical chance of making the play-offs, though a three-game winless run has come at the wrong time with their fate now out of their hands.

The lowest scorers in the top eight, an outsider would be forgiven for thinking Wolves’ problems lie in front of goal, though they’d be mistaken with strikers Benik Afobe, Bakary Sako and Nouha Dicko three of the most prolific in the country this season, with Wolves fans branding the trio as ‘Magic’ to the tune of the Pilot hit from 1975 at home and away games in the second half of the season.

MAN TO WATCH – BENIK AFOBE


One of the brightest young strikers in the country, Benik Afobe has been the most prolific to date in the 2014-15 campaign after notching 31 goals in 49 appearances for MK Dons and Wolves, who he joined permanently from Arsenal in January.

The 22-year-old England youth international picked his experience up from loans spells with Huddersfield Town, Reading, Bolton Wanderers, Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday prior to his move to Stadium:MK at the start of this season.

His 19 goals in 30 appearances for Karl Robinson’s side made him a sought after frontman and Wolves acted quickly to secure his signature from the Gunners.

Afobe has proved to be worth the fight, though, with his 12 goals in 19 appearances key to Wolves’ play-off bid.

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