Date:Wednesday April 23 2008
Well, games just don't get any bigger than Wigan V Reading at the JJB Stadium - both sides fighting for their lives to remain in the Premier League.
I'd rather think that Reading look the more desperate of the two sides to acquire points here because Bolton are turning the heat up on Reading now and we all know about second season syndrome.
Reading have just the solitary home game... against Tottenham Hotspur, which won't be easy and Bolton have a home game... against Sunderland.
Neither fixture is easy and I think that Bolton will reap the rewards from their home game rather than Reading but who knows in the Premier League.
I fancy Bolton's chances more than I do Reading's at the moment.
As for the other teams involved in the battle to avoid the drop, well, Birmingham might just be the other team to go down but its rather a big war down at the bottom and only one team will fail to win that war.
Fulham and Derby are already down for me. Fulham's loss to the reds was devastating and the fact they'll be playing championship football won't please Mr. Ali. For me, its between, Bolton, Reading and Birmingham for the final relegation place.
These encounters are never easy - Wigan, though, are on good relegation battle form - they've won their last two at home against Bolton and Birmingham and picked up useful points of late.
Steve Coppell will have his side fired up as will Steve Bruce for Wigan so expect another hard fought, card happy game at the JJB Stadium.
That said, Reading FC are not good travellers this season and they are a shadow of what they achieved last season - just 1 win this season on the road against an extremely inconsistent Middlesbrough outfit.
I was hoping that Middlesbrough would beat Bolton. Sadly not to be though.
Wigan will welcome Reading graciously and Steve Bruce will have them ready to fight. They are good in relegation battles but this will not be an easy game.
Sitting on a rather worrying 32 points in the Premier League, Reading will be feeling all too close to the dreaded trapdoor and second season syndrome playing on their minds.
Wigan, though, will also be anxious for the three points and as they are also at home, combined with a battling performance, this will be a game where three points are a must for the home side.
Reading, though, will fight like something we probably won't have witnessed for quite a while at the JJB Stadium and it will be an entertaining, nail chewing game.
Home advantage and Reading's poor away form should just about see that Wigan come through triumphant, albeit a slender victory.
ROB'S PREDICTION: WIGAN 1 READING 0
This will not be an easy game by any means - Coppell's men know anything but a point gained is seriously bad news for them and all three would be heaven, but against a Latics side who have not lost in six games, they have it all to do at the JJB Stadium and Wigan are good at playing relegation threatened teams.
This might just be the day that Steve Bruce and his associates can pop open the champagne! As for Reading, well, they've got a real battle on their hands now.
32 points is not enough and with Bolton finding form, is this it for Reading, or will Bolton lose out?
The battle to avoid the final relegation place for me is now a three way split but with our form at home, we should be able to salvage that all important win to secure Premier League survival.
Date:Wednesday April 23 2008
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