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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: WIGAN ATHLETIC V BIRMINGHAM CITY

16 August 2016

Latics look to build on thumping home start.

  • Latics set for second match in four days at the DW Stadium.
  • Gary Caldwell's side in search of consecutive wins after 3-0 v Blackburn Rovers.
  • Birmingham City arrive unbeaten in opening two Sky Bet Championship games.

Sky Bet Championship
Wigan Athletic v Birmingham City
Tuesday 16 August 2016, kick off 7.45pm
at the DW Stadium



PREVIEW

Latics arrive at the DW Stadium this evening in search of a second consecutive Sky Bet Championship victory, following on from their comfortable and impressive 3-0 win against Owen Coyle's Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

Will Grigg proved his fire is still burning when he netted his first second tier goal, alongside an ambitious and ultimately successful long range free kick from Nick Powell, before Shane Duffy turned Max Power's cross into his own net in the second half to set Latics up for their first win of the season.



Will Grigg celebrates his first ever Championship goal.

It was a welcome victory for Gary Caldwell's side, who narrowly lost the opening league match 2-1 away at Bristol City, before an early EFL Cup exit by the same score at Oldham Athletic.

Birmingham City's start remains unbeaten following a hard-earned 2-1 victory away at Leeds United on Saturday, with Jacques Maghoma and Michael Morrison on target either side of Hadi Sacko' equaliser.

The Blues drew 0-0 at home to Cardiff City on the first day of the season, before they too dropped out of the EFL Cup in the first round after a 1-0 extra time defeat to Oxford United.

TEAM NEWS

Latics will be without Donervon Daniels for a number of weeks as the defender gets set for knee surgery on Wednesday, with Andy Kellett (knee), Reece James (ankle) and Kyle Knoyle (elbow) all still sidelined longer term [Read Gary Caldwell's injury update].

Birmingham will be without permanent summer signing James Vaughan due to a thigh injury, but could welcome Viv Solomon-Otabor back into contention, with new signings Che Adams and Greg Stewart also likely to feature in Gary Rowett's plans after both were unused substitutes at Elland Road.

BIRMINGHAM'S SUMMER SO FAR

A familiar name to Latics supporters was first through the door at St. Andrew's this summer as defender Ryan Shotton joined from Derby County, followed shortly after by Robert Tesche from the Rams' fellow East Midlanders Nottingham Forest.



Former Latics loanee Ryan Shotton arrived at St. Andrew's this summer.

The aforementioned Vaughan was a permanent recruit following a spell on loan from Huddersfield Town, with Che Adams (Sheffield United) and Greg Stewart (Dundee) arriving last week in Rowett's continued efforts to shape his squad.

Outgoings were higher in number, with Wes Thomas, Lee Novak, Mark Duffy, Mitch Hancox, David Edgar and Neal Eardley all through the exit door, along with Denny Johnstone who moved to Colchester United for an undisclosed fee, and Alex Jones who has joined Port Vale on loan.

BLUES IN 2015/16

Birmingham recorded their second consecutive 10th placed finish last season, matching their 2014/15 total of 63 points, but improving their goal difference and cutting the gap to the play offs from 15 points the previous season to just 11 points in 2015/16.

An impressive start saw Blues unbeaten in their first five matches of Rowett's second full season in charge, a pattern they also ended the season on with four consecutive draws meaning they're now without defeat in the Championship since 16 April.

Last season's top goal scorer was Clayton Donaldson on 11, with Arsenal loanee Jon-Miquel Toral on eight and former Latics winger David Cotterill on four, including two in the final four fixtures.



Former Latics winger David Cotterill entering his third full season at Birmingham.

Third round exits in both cups ended Birmingham's Wembley hopes, losing 2-1 at home to AFC Bournemouth in the FA Cup and 1-0 away in their fierce derby with Aston Villa in the League Cup.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

It's an even split between Latics and Blues over 19 previous meetings, with both teams victorious on six occasions, playing out seven draws since the first meeting back in 1978 when Latics lost 4-0 away in the FA Cup.

The first league meeting between the two sides came 11 years later and kicked off a successful run of form for Latics who were unbeaten in six clashes with Birmingham over three consecutive seasons.

Another 14 years went by before the two clubs would meet again, this time in the Premier League, but not on good terms for Latics who suffered a 2-0 away defeat in 2006.

The last fixture came in January 2015 in an unsuccessful visit to St. Andrew's as Latics lost 3-1, having won 4-0 at the DW Stadium in August 2014 in Blues' last trip to Wigan.



Latics have lost just once at home to Birmingham, winning five times and drawing three.

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