Team news, facts and figures, head-to-head and ticket details ahead of the trip to face Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn Rovers v Wigan Athletic match preview.
Latics Assistant Manager Greaham Barrow: “The players' mentality needs to be right for the big games.”
Latics head to Ewood full of confidence
BLACKBURN ROVERS v WIGAN ATHLETIC
SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP
SATURDAY 4 MARCH 2017
TICKETS: Pay on the day facility available, details
GRAHAM BARROW: Assistant manager takes press prior to the game, here
AWAY INFO: All you need to know if you’re travelling to Blackburn, here
MR GREEN: All the latest odds with the club’s new betting partner, here
This is definitely what is known as a big one. There’s no getting away from that here, both team in the bottom three, both with a chance to get out of the relegation zone with a victory should results elsewhere go favourably, both looking to put the other down.
It's not an actual must win for either, but the relative psychological blows of victory and defeat here really do make this one an important match, added to which there is the Lancashire derby aspect, and the fact that Rovers will be looking for revenge after Latics’ victory in August in the reverse fixture…
It all makes for a tasty Lancashire hot-pot (yes, the old cliché has come out within the first paragraphs!) as Rovers look to make it back to back victories under new manager Tony Mowbray. The Owen Coyle factor would have been an added ingredient but in truth it doesn’t need any more spice because this is going to be tasty enough as it is…
In terms of Rovers, a quick glance at the scoring charts below will tell you who the danger-men are, if you can stop Danny Graham and Sam Gallagher, then they are certainly not quite the same potent force. That said, Marvin Emnes was preferred to Graham against Derby.
As for Latics, it is still uncertain at this stage whether manager Warren Joyce will be fit to be on the touchline for the game after he underwent a minor operation in midweek. Assistant Manager Graham Barrow and coach Andy Welsh will be directing things from the Latics dugout in his absence.
Tony Mowbray – new man at the helm
Latics will await the return of Michael Jacobs, it remains to be seen if the winger will be fit after missing the last two games with a hamstring strain, although he has been back in full training this week. There was a welcome return for Alex Gilbey after five months out against Nottingham Forest, he will most likely remain on the bench however.
For Rovers, Gordon Greer is close to returning following a calf injury. Elliott Ward and Tommie Hoban are also fit again and could come into consideration. Two players not involved are Hope Akpan who serves the last of his four-match suspension this weekend and Corry Evans who has a groin problem.
SEASON SO FAR
Like ourselves, Rovers have struggled for any kind of consistency this season, managing the occasional good result but never able to build a sufficient head of steam to get clear of danger at the foot of the table.
Former Latics manager Owen Coyle lasted longer than he did at the DW Stadium, but only by three months or so. He was given the January transfer window to reinforce but left a fortnight ago to be replaced by Tony Mowbray, the former Hibernian, West Bromwich Albion, Celtic, Middlesbrough and Coventry City manager; a surprise appointment no doubt but four points from two games going into this shows there has been a reaction.
This match won’t decide anything, but it will be one hell of a right hook if one can get a victory over the other; draw would satisfy neither but both would come out of it pride intact...
CURRENT SQUAD, 2016-17 LEADING LEAGUE GOALSCORERS
11 - Danny Graham
10 - Sam Gallagher
3 – Marvin Emnes
3 – Craig Conway
2 – Charlie Mulgrew
This is still a relatively modern Lancashire derby and only the 10th season the sides have met as league equals, the first time was only 12 seasons ago, in Latics’ first year in the Barclays Premiership.
It took Latics five attempts to get a victory against Dave Whelan’s former club, but when it came it was spectacular, that unforgettable 5-3 affair at the DW Stadium, Marcus Bent, the former Rovers striker, getting a hat-trick.
Overall, Blackburn are 9-6 ahead in terms of wins, with our only ever success at Ewood Park coming in 2012 when Antolin Alcaraz’ late goal secured Premier League survival, and finally sealed Rovers’ fate that season. And there was a chicken on the pitch.
It’s a similar scenario this week (no fowl play allowed), not quite as death or glory, but not that far off…
Let’s remind ourselves what happened in the reverse fixture back in August
PLAYED FOR BOTH
Plenty of connections for this match. From the current squad, Stephen Warnock played over 100 games for Rovers between 2007 and 2008, while Ryan Tunnicliffe played 17 league games on loan two season ago. Jack Byrne was at Rovers earlier this season on loan from Manchester City, although he hasn’t yet made his Latics bow.
As for Rovers, the only connection of note is on the bench, where our record goalscorer in all competitions and former coach David Lowe has taken up a role alongside new manager Tony Mowbray – not the first time we have crossed swords with Lowey over the years but he is still someone forever – and rightfully - associated with us.
Looking back in time, the big one of course is Dave Whelan but in terms of players to have played for both, Jordi Gomez is the most recent, then Marcus Bent is there once again (there seem to be fewer clubs he HASN’T featured for both this season!) along with Franco Di Santo, Jason Roberts, Stephane Henchoz, Pascal Chimbonda, John Filan, David Thompson, Per Frandsen, Alan Mahon and, Jeff Kenna. Further back still, there is Keith Gillespie, Chris Thompson, Paul Comstive, David Hamilton and Graham Oates – there will be others!