WARREN JOYCE: Read the manager’s thoughts prior to the game, here
MR GREEN: All the latest odds with the club’s new betting partner, here
All eyes may be on the swift return of a certain flying Dutchman but it’s important for Latics to remember that earning precious league points far outweighs anything else as Latics welcome the Canaries to the DW. Friday’s result, combined with other results from the teams around us in the table on Saturday, have made what is a massive game an even bigger one and it’s important that nothing distracts from that.
From the visitors’ point of view, they will be eyeing a return straight back to the Premier League and after a bit of a mid-season hiccup, their campaign appears to be back on track as they arrive on the back of three straight wins…
Yanic Wildscut is paraded as a Canary
James Weir made a great impression on his debut against Wednesday and Warren Joyce may be tempted to start him, while Omar Bogle also looked a handful when he came on in the second half – and the manager has got options all of a sudden. Will this be a game too soon for Gabriel Obertan to make his Latics bow, however? Another new signing, Jamie Hanson, scored on his Derby debut against Norwich so he will be itching to repeat the feat here. On the other hand, injury permitting, Joyce could name an unchanged starting XI…
James Weir - could he make his first start for Latics?
For Norwich, midfielder Alex Tettey begins a two-match ban after receiving a 10th booking of the season at Cardiff. Steven Naismith (hamstring) is a doubt along with James Maddison (back) who has returned from a loan spell at Aberdeen. DR Congo international midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu is available again following the African Nations Cup.
SEASON SO FAR
One of the pre-season favourites to make an immediate return to the Premier League, the Canaries started the season strongly, just on the shoulder of the Newcastle and Brighton, but a really poor spell of five defeats in six games around October – including a 5-0 thumping at Brighton – threatened to derail the season and although there have been moments of huge inconsistency – a 2-1 defeat at Rotherham being a low point – Alex Neill has steadied the ship since the turn of the year and they arrive here on the back of three victories.
CURRENT SQUAD, 2016-17 LEADING LEAGUE GOALSCORERS
Leading scorer Cameron Jerome
9, Cameron Jerome
7, Nelson Oliveira
6, Jacob Murphy
5, Jonny Howson / Graham Dorrans
4, Steven Naismith
2, Wes Hoolahan
This is another of those fixtures that does not have a lot of history, with this only the 5th season the sides have faced each other as league opponents.
Latics did famously beat the Canaries in the FA Cup in 1987, while there was a league cup defeat to the Canaries in the league cup in 1998.
League-wise, the weight of history is with Norwich who have won four of the nine encounters, Latics two and there have been three draws.
The match earlier in the season finished 2-1 to Norwich who raced to a two goal lead, but Latics fought back bravely, scored through Jordi Gomez and were unlucky not to force a draw.
Last time Norwich City were in town, in December 2014, they came away with a 1-0 win courtesy of Jonny Howson’s early goal, but Latics did manage a great rear-guard action at Carrow Road in the return, with Kim Bo Kyung’s fine volley earning the points in what was also David Sharpe’s first game as Latics chairman. You can relive the highlights below:
SOME WHO HAVE PLAYED FOR BOTH CLUBS…
Not many games but a load of connections…the obvious one we have already talked about of course and it seems pretty certain Yanic Wildschut will play some part in proceedings today. Of the other squad members from both sides, Josh Murphy made five appearances for Latics on loan in 2015, while Matt Gilks, yet to feature for Latics, was at Carrow Road for the 2007-08 season but did not play any games. Current Norwich Under 18s manager is former Latics defender David Wright.
Grant Holt and Leon Barnett are two connections from recent seasons.
Leon Barnett during his spell at Norwich
Looking back in history, current Head of Football Operations Matt Jackson captained both sides, but the are a lot of connections off the field too. Bruce Rioch, John Deehan and Bryan Hamilton managed both teams, while Steve Bruce and Malky Mackay have both held the Latics hot seat but not yet the Norwich one, despite being former Norwich players. The late John Benson was also in that category while Keith Bertschin is a former Norwich striker who was Development Squad manager at Latics under Steve Bruce. Chief Scout under Roberto Martinez Kevin Reeves is also a former Norwich striker, while John Bond, who was also involved at Latics in the Benson/Deehan era, has strong links at Norwich.
Player-wise, Paul Cook started his career at Latics in the 80s (and returned briefly in 2001) before being sold to Norwich in 1987 while others to played for both over the years include David Fairclough, Rob Newman, Wayne Biggins, Carl Bradshaw, Mark Bowen, Paul Dalglish, Ged Brannan, Jason Jarrett, Damien Francis, while Antoine Sibierski finished his career at Norwich after leaving Latics, as did Carlo Nash, although he never played a match for the Canaries.