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Match Previews

DERBY PREVIEW: WIGAN ATHLETIC v BOLTON WANDERERS

19 March 2015

Bolton visit the DW on Saturday as Latics look to end home winless run and move within three points of safety.

  • Latics can move closer to Fulham and Rotherham United in safety positions with win.
  • Home win v Bolton last season, followed by four-month DW unbeaten run.
  • Tickets available up until kick-off for local derby.
Wigan Athletic’s 20th home game of the season is arguably their biggest yet as local rivals Bolton Wanderers visit the DW Stadium on Saturday.

Winless at home since August, Latics are fully aware that they need to turn around their form on their own patch if they’re to stay in the Sky Bet Championship, especially with Saturday’s game against their rivals presenting an opportunity to close the gap to safety to just three points.

Former Latic Emile Heskey, who scored 16 goals in 88 games during his time with the club, will also return to the DW Stadium for the first time as a Bolton player.

Tickets, which can be purchased up until kick-off, are priced from £20 for adults and £5 for juniors.

FLASHBACK

Wigan Athletic 3 – 2 Bolton Wanderers
Sky Bet Championship
Sunday 15th December 2013
DW Stadium



Latics kick-started their 2013/14 campaign in Uwe Rosler’s first Sky Bet Championship game in charge of the club, with a topsy-turvy 3-2 victory at home to Bolton Wanderers, thanks to goals from Ben Watson, Nick Powell and Callum McManaman.

The crucial win set Latics onto an eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions, and an unbeaten run at the DW Stadium which would stretch all the way to 8 April 2014 until a 1-0 defeat to Millwall.  The match that started it all came just three days after being eliminated from the Europa League Group Stages after a 2-1 defeat away to Slovenian champions Maribor.

A Watson penalty gave Latics a 1-0 lead against the Trotters on 11 minutes after Matt Mills handled in the box, with Nick Powell’s acrobatic overhead kick doubling the score line just 13 minutes later as Latics saw out an impressive first half.

Bolton bit back early on in the second 45, with Neil Danns heading in at the left post from Andre Moritz’s cross to drag a goal back, before Emmerson Boyce conceded a penalty for a high foot on Lee Chung-Yong, allowing Moritz to coolly finish from the spot to equalise.

After rising through the ranks at Latics and impressing so much towards the latter end of the 2013 FA Cup winning campaign, McManaman added a derby day winning goal to his list of accolades, sweeping home on 66 minutes, after Boyce’s lay off through the box from a James McClean corner.

Three points lifted Latics up to 14th in the Championship, eight points from the play-offs and still with a game in hand to play in what would be an incredible surge from mid-table as the season went on.

The reverse fixture later in the season proved just as dramatic, with Powell once again on the score sheet, this time netting a late equaliser to earn Latics a point at the then named Reebok Stadium in a 1-1 draw at the end of March.

INTRODUCING BOLTON WANDERERS

With just one league win in their opening ten league games, Bolton parted company with manager Dougie Freedman and replaced him with former Celtic boss Neil Lennon.

The former Leicester City and Crewe Alexandra midfielder has since led Bolton to 16th in the Championship table, ten points above the drop-zone; a position that seemed a million miles away when he took over the side on just five points from 11 games and five points from safety.

Over the summer, the Trotters lost notable players such as Zat Knight, Chris Eagles, Marvin Sordell and Tyrone Mears – all either sold or released.

Neil Danns, Liam Feeney and Liam Trotter all made their initial loan spells permanent whilst experienced goalkeeper Paddy Kenny joined and young striker Max Clayton also made the switch to the Macron Stadium.

After losing eight of their opening 11 Sky Bet Championship games, Bolton opted for Lennon and the Northern Irish boss immediately invigorated the group at Matt Mills’ goal earned the Trotters a 1-0 victory at Birmingham City in his first game in charge.

Lennon’s skill has been to make the Macron Stadium a difficult place to go, as only leaders Watford and Premier League side Liverpool have won their under his stewardship.

That run all began with three consecutive three-goal home wins following that success at St. Andrew’s, defeating Brentford, Cardiff and then Latics in Uwe Rosler’s last game in charge.

It’s been a crippling run of injuries that has halted any further significant progress for Lennon, though, as Clayton and Zach Clough, both youngsters who were beginning to find their feet, likely to miss the rest of the season.

All over the pitch, Lennon has struggled to pick a consistent side and, since December, Bolton have been one of the busiest sides in the country in terms of transfer transactions.

Emile Heskey and former Trotters striker Eidur Gudjohnsen arrived on short-term deals as early Christmas presents for the Bolton fans whilst January saw Adam Le Fondre, Ben Amos, Barry Bannan and Saidy Janko all join on loan.

The books still have to be balanced, though, and those arrivals have been countered with the departures of Paddy Kenny, Lee Chung-yong, Jay Spearing, Medo and Keith Andrews.

In recent weeks, midfielder Giles Coke and defender Paddy McCarthy have also arrived as Lennon looks to find enough points to guarantee survival.

Five defeats in their last eight fixtures has left the Trotters looking over their shoulders but with their impressive home record under Lennon, and fixtures at the Macron against Blackpool, Charlton and Birmingham City, they’ll believe they have ample opportunity to secure the points to stay in the second tier and prepare for a fresh start in the new campaign.

MAN TO WATCH  - TIM REAM



American international Tim Ream has continued to impress for the Trotters after joining from New York Red Bulls in 2012.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Ream progressed through the ranks with the Saint Louis Billikens before joining Chicago Fire Premier for the 2008-09 season, making 19 appearances.

For the 2010-11 MLS season, the now 27-year-old joined the Red Bulls and made 58 appearances, scoring once and, after impressive performances, would earn his first USA national team cap against South Africa in November 2010.

Bolton selected Ream as a replacement for Gary Cahill, who left for Chelsea in 2011, and they parted with a reported £2.5million for his services.

Since moving to the Macron, Ream has made 118 appearances, though he is yet to open his goal-scoring account for the Whites after three years with the club.

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