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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: NEWCASTLE UNITED v WIGAN ATHLETIC

31 March 2017

Team news, facts and figures, head-to-head and ticket details ahead of the trip to face Newcastle United

  • Newcastle United v Wigan Athletic match preview.
  • Latics interim manager Graham Barrow: “The players need to relish playing at places like these.”
  • Latics head to St James’ Park looking to pull off a shock.
NEWCASTLE UNITED v WIGAN ATHLETIC
ST JAMES’ PARK
SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP
SATURDAY 1 April 2017
KICK-OFF 3.00pm 

TICKETS: The match is now sold out
GRAHAM BARROW: Read the manager’s thoughts prior to the game, here
AWAY INFO: All you need to know if you’re travelling to Newcastle, here
MR GREEN: All the latest odds with the club’s new betting partner, here

PREVIEW
Interim Latics manager Graham Barrow is challenging his players to deliver a shock result as the team travels to face league leaders Newcastle United at St James’ Park, where 50,000 Geordie supporters will be baying for blood - but Latics will have their own corner, with our allocation of 1,200 selling out.  

Barrow has seen every situation in his four decades of being involved in professional football and says the players should relish the situation. “The pressure will be on Newcastle, they are the ones who need to keep getting results and it’s up to our players to make it a difficult afternoon for them,” he said. “We will have a decent following of our own and I want our players to put on a performance for our supporters first and foremost.” 

Latics go into the game on the back of two defeats, but having won their previous away game, at Birmingham City. Newcastle haven't won at home in two, following defeat against Fulham and a draw against Bristol City...it's another huge game.


Mohamed Diame - Friend turned foe

TEAM NEWS
Sam Morsy, Shaun MacDonald and Callum Connolly have all returned from international duty and are available for selection. Captain Stephen Warnock should be available after his gashed knee has had two more weeks to recover. Will Grigg and Andy Kellett have been added to a long term injury list with knee injuries, a list which also includes Ryan Tunnicliffe, Donervon Daniels, Nick Powell and Reece James.

For Newcastle, Ciaran Clark will probably be sidelined with a knee injury but the injured trio of Paul Dummett (heel), Daryl Murphy (calf), and Grant Hanley (ankle) are expected to return and be available, along with Isaac Hayden.

CURRENT SQUAD, 2016-17 LEADING LEAGUE GOALSCORERS

21, Dwight Gayle
9, Matt Ritchie
6, Ayoze Perez
5, Yoan Gouffran 
4, Aleksandar Mitrovic
4, Darryl Murphy
4, Jonjo Shelvey

SEASON SO FAR
The Magpies look set to achieve their season’s target of promotion, whether they achieve it as champions or in 2nd place is yet to be finalised of course but Latics could have a role to play in that they face both Newcastle and Brighton & Hove Albion in the run in. 

After initially taking a few weeks to properly get in their stride, the promotion wind has been set fair for The Magpies and they look certainties to go up now, with the team seven points clear with just eight games to play, albeit 3rd-placed Huddersfield do have a game in hand.

Consistency has been generally excellent although if there is any kind of weakness it is at St James Park, where they have lost five times to only three defeats on the road.  Newcastle actually go into this game without a win in three matches, and they haven’t won at St James’ Park since mid-February, but they will still be the overwhelming favourites.

HEAD-TO-HEAD 
Newcastle United famously knocked Lancashire Combination Latics out of the FA Cup in 1954 after an heroic draw at St James’ Park was followed by a 3-2 victory at Springfield Park, but the two sides didn’t meet again until Latics were promoted to the Premiership in 2005. 

Latics then enjoyed a great run whereby they defeated the Magpies at the JJB/DW six times out of eight, with only a 1-0 reverse in 2011 and the 2-0 in the reverse fixture back in December denting that record.

Unfortunately, Latics’ record at St James Park is not as healthy, with just two draws from those seven league visits. How will the eighth end up?

SOME WHO PLAYED FOR BOTH.
From the current squads, Mohamed Diame and Gabriel Obertan are the two players who will be facing former clubs on Saturday, although there are plenty of historical links. 

The big four first. Titus Bramble, Charles N’Zogbia and Antoine Sibierski were all team mates at both Latics and St James Park, while Ryan Taylor made such a habit of scoring free-kicks against Newcastle that they eventually bought him in 2009 – and he also built a reputation for scoring great free-kicks for the Magpies in what was an injury disrupted career with both Latics and United. Imagine how many more he could have scored had he not been blighted by a succession of serious injuries.

Others to have played for both include, going back in rough chronological order, Haris Vučkić, James Tavernier, Patrick van Aanholt, Fitz Hall, Paul Dalglish, Michael O’Neill, Keith Gillespie, Alan Kennedy and Micky Quinn.


Charles N'Zogbia and Titus Bramble in Newcastle days

MATCH OFFICIALS: 
Referee - David Coote (2016-17 record, 33 matches, 114Y, 6R)
Assistant Referee 1 - Mark Dwyer
Assistant Referee 2 - James Wilson
Fourth Official - Robert Jones

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