Latics prepare to host Millwall FC in the final game of the 2018-19 Sky Bet Championship campaign.
- Sky Bet Championship: Wigan Athletic v Millwall.
- Latics host MIllwall on the final day of the 2018-19 season.
- Paul Cook's side are 18th in the table, with the potential to finish 17th.
WIGAN ATHLETIC V MILLWALL
SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP
SUNDAY 5 MAY 2019
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Latics arrive back at the DW Stadium this weekend in the 2018-19 Sky Bet Championship season finale against Millwall, with Paul Cook’s side aiming to extend their four-game unbeaten run following their 1-1 draw with Birmingham City last weekend.
Despite making seven changes from their victory over local rivals Preston North End, Nick Powell’s first-half equaliser earned Latics a share of the spoils at St. Andrew's, earning Latics four points from their last two away games after their spirited 2-1 victory over Leeds United on Good Friday.
Latics go into Sunday’s fixture against Neil Harris’ side on 49 points in 18th position, five points clear of their counterparts who occupy 21st place in the table. Victory for Latics could see them rise to as high as 17th place above Birmingham City reaching the 50 points mark, though defeat could see Cook’s men fall to as low as 20th place.
The visitors start the day four points clear of the relegation zone after Rotherham United were the last team to have their relegation to Sky Bet League One confirmed.
Harris’ men are on 44 points and victory could see them rise above Reading in 20th place.
The two teams last met in October 2018, with the Lions running out 2-1 winners over Latics thanks to Steve Morison’s winner on 82 minutes.
Referee - Andy Woolmer
Assistant Referee 1 - Jonathan Hunt
Assistant Referee 2 - Billy Smallwood
Fourth Official - Robert Jones
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Ipswich Town v Leeds United
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Reading v Birmingham City
Rotherham United v Middlesbrough
Sheffield Wednesday v Queens Park Rangers
Stoke City v Sheffield United
EARLY TEAM NEWS
Speaking to iFollow Latics ahead of Sunday's final fixture of the Sky Bet Championship campaign against Millwall at the DW Stadium, Paul Cook said:
"Reece has been an outstanding professional during his time at our club and someone who completely deserves the praise he gets.
"With that said, Reece will captain the team on Sunday and it's likely that we'll bring him off during the latter stages of the game so that our supporters can give him the ovation he deserves.
"Around that, we'll pick the strongest team possible as we want to finish the season with as many points as possible.
"It's a tough one for Samy, he's an exemplary captain for our club, but we don't want to risk him being suspended for that start of next season."
The gaffer added:
"Charlie Jolley will be involved on Sunday and we're aiming to get him some minutes on the pitch and that vital experience.
"Our Academy is full of good players and the Under 18s is a very talented group. It's a great time for the club in that repsect and we have to give the boys a platform to take the next step.
"I don't want to be too quick to heap praise on the young lads because it can be a burden of pressure, but it's so good to see the Academy in such a good place. The Development Squad, the Under 18s and the Under 15s have rightly been given a lot of credit, and that credit has to go to Gregor (Rioch) and his staff at Christopher Park, it's such a bright place to work."
After making their league debuts last weekend against Birmingham City, Academy duo Joe Gelhardt and Jensen Weir will be unavailable for Sunday's game as they represent England in the 2019 UEFA European U17 Championships in Ireland, the first game of which is live on UEFA's YouTube channel this evening at 7.00pm against France.
With the pair not involved on Sunday, it could open up opportunities for other members of Latics' Academy teams, with defender Adam Long already involved in the squad last weekend on the bench, whilst 41-goal striker Jolley, who netted twice in Tuesday's EFL Youth Alliance Cup triumph at Exeter City, was in the travelling squad for last weekend's trip to St. Andrew's.
Latics made seven changes for the 1-1 draw, with Christian Walton, Danny Fox, Samy Morsy, Reece James, Gavin Massey, Kal Naismith and Leon Clarke all switched out for Jamie Jones, Jonas Olsson, Darron Gibson, Cedric Kipre, Josh Windass, Joe Garner and goal scorer Nick Powell, but unfortunately Windass was forced off at half time against Birmingham through injury.
Captain Morsy is one booking away from suspension and is set to sit this one out, whilst Sunday's game will be the last opportunity for our multiple Currys PC World Player of the Month, Reece James, to feature in a Latics shirt before returning to Chelsea, with the 19-year-old confirmed as captain for the game.
Elsewhere, Callum McManaman and Michael Jacobs have both been missing with injuries, whilst Shaun MacDonald has been struggling with a calf problem.
With Neil Harris' side also safe in the knowledge of their spot in the division for 2019-20, Millwall are expected to hand opportunities to some of their younger players, with Harris hinting that in his post-Bristol City interview midweek.
Academy starlets Jesse Debrah, Billy Mitchell and George Alexander all were all named amongst the substitutes for Tuesday night's 2-1 defeat to the Robins at the Den, but none of the trio managed to feature from the bench.
HEAD-TO-HEAD - LEAGUE
PODCAST - REECE JAMES, DARREN SHERIDAN AND JONAS OLSSON