PREVIEW: Wigan Athletic v Wanderers

Wanderers make the short trip to Wigan for the eagerly-awaited derby as boss Ian Evatt reaches his 100th game in charge of the Whites.

Evatt’s men will be hoping to make amends for a 4-0 loss to the Latics back in October.

But in the bigger picture, Wanderers will be aiming for three points to keep the League One play-off places in sight in the final month of the season as they start a crucial run of three games in eight days.

Wigan – back from a training break in Dubai – are chasing automatic promotion and could go top of the table with a 13th home win of the campaign.

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Quotes from the managers:

Ian Evatt: “We feel like we were embarrassed here against Wigan earlier on in the season.

“That wasn’t us. We had a lot of injuries on the day and were punished accordingly but we want to set the record straight.

“We’re better than that, we’ve evolved as a team since then and we’re really excited for the game on Saturday.

“We’re still in with a shout. It’s a very small shout, but we’ve still got one.

“We have to try and win all seven games and that starts on Saturday.”

Wigan manager Leam Richardson: “Derby days are fantastic for the supporters and the players.

“I’ve been fortunate to work at both clubs. I had a great time at Bolton Wanderers to help them get promoted to the Premier League, to now working at Wigan where I’ve been for a few years.

“Fingers crossed we can continue to make those small steps forward to be in that place where we want to be.”

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Team news:

Wanderers will have vice-captain Gethin Jones back for the first time in over a month but Lloyd Isgrove’s return from injury has been put on hold following a recurrence of his hamstring injury.

Midfielder Kieran Lee is closing in on a return from heel surgery but isn’t expected to figure at the DW Stadium.

Wanderers’ quartet of international players returned fit and well and are set to feature.

Wigan had strikers Will Keane and Josh Magennis and wideman James McClean on international duty with the trio expected to be involved.

Midfielder Jordan Cousins may return for Wigan after almost four months out through injury.

Striker Charlie Wyke is aiming to return next season after suffering a cardiac arrest in November.

Form guide:

Wanderers are aiming for a third successive away win after victories at Crewe and Gillingham last month.

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The Whites have lost only three times since mid-January but still need to try and close an 11-point gap on the play-offs with seven games to go.

Second-placed Wigan are seeking a third successive win as they look to retain an automatic promotion spot.

Leam Richardson’s side has lost one of its last 10 league games.

Last meeting:

Wanderers 0 Wigan Athletic 4 | 16/10/2021

Wanderers had a day to forget as they suffered a second home defeat of the season.

Forced into a defensive re-shuffle following a number of injury absentees, the Whites fell behind to an early Will Keane goal.

Things might have been different had a thumping effort early in the second half from Antoni Sarcevic gone in rather than striking the bar.

But Wanderers were second best and after James McClean had doubled Wigan’s lead with a long-range strike, Callum Lang and McClean added further goals to keep the Latics up with the early promotion chasers.

Wanderers: Dixon; Brockbank (Isgrove 55), Santos, Johnston, Gordon; Williams; Bakayoko (Kachunga 61), Sarcevic, Sheehan (Thomason 73), Afolayan; Doyle. Substitutes: Gilks, Delfouneso, Aimson, Baptiste.


Referee: Samuel Barrott

Assistant referees: Wayne Grunnill and Johnathon Bickerdike

Fourth official: Paul Graham

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