Opposition watch: Wigan Athletic

The low-down on this weekend's opponents from the DW Stadium

Regular foes in recent seasons, true to local derby mantra clashes between Bolton and Wigan usually prove to be dramatic, high goalscoring affairs.

Since the Latics were first promoted to the Premier League in 2005, there have been no less than 18 meetings between the two sides, with Wigan currently holding the upper hand with seven victories as opposed to Wanderers’ four.

However, on the occasions that Bolton have claimed local bragging rights, it normally comes in emphatic fashion.

As if to prove this point, the Whites’ last home win in this fixture came back in March 2010, when goals from Johan Elmander, Kevin Davies, Fabrice Muamba and Matthew Taylor secured a 4-0 win.

The previous Whites’ victory at BL6 before that came in December 2007, with Davies again on the scoresheet as Wigan were once again hit for four.

Although the Latics have emerged victorious in the last two meetings between the two sides, most recently in Uwe Rosler’s first league match in charge of the Latics back in December, league doubles in this fixture are a rare occurrence.

Registering just one double each, Bolton were the last side to achieve the feat back in the 1992/93 season, and will be hopeful of ensuring things stay that way come the final whistle on Saturday afternoon.

Eager to secure an immediate return to the Premier League, Wigan will be looking to pick up maximum points as they look to cement their place in the Championship play-offs spots, despite having the distraction of an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to next month.

Arsenal await the Latics at Wembley in April as they look to defend their crown, and after beating Manchester City in the previous round, Rosler’s side have proven they are not a team to be taken lightly.

Having lost just three times since the German arrived at the DW Stadium, Wigan have coped well with their dual responsibilities so far this campaign.

However, after suffering a rare defeat to fellow promotion-challengers Queens Park Rangers in their last outing, Rosler will be looking for an immediate recovery from his side.

Set for a run of four consecutive home matches after their visit to the Reebok, Wigan will be under no illusions as to how important three points on Saturday could be ahead of a decisive few weeks in their campaign.

With Wanderers themselves entering the clash on the back of a 1-0 derby victory over Blackpool on Tuesday evening however, Dougie Freedman and his side will be going all out to record back-to-back wins over their local rivals and climb up the league standings as the season enters the final furlong.
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