Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Thursday February 25 2010
With the likely probability of Portsmouth going into administration on Friday and all but mathematically sealing their relegation with a nine point deduction as per the Premier League rules there will be just two places left to fill from seven very twitchy clubs.
With just a dozen games left for the season and four points separating Burnley in 19th to West Ham United in 13th this campaign is as tight at the bottom as it`s ever been.
Wigan Athletic find themselves in the thick of it at the moment though with a little more luck and a better ability to kill teams off when on top the Latics would undoubtedly be sitting in the mid-table comfort zone occupied by this weekends opponents Birmingham City.
Latics boss Roberto Martinez is mindful of this, especially following three consecutive draws against Stoke, Sunderland and Bolton when the three points were there for the taking; he says that all the squad need to pull together and fight for the points to ensure a good end to the season, Martinez says: 'Results aren't going our way lately, although we deserve more, and we need everyone pulling in the same direction to make sure the season ends well.'
So just 12 games to go and the first one against the previously mentioned Birmingham who have been undergoing a quite magnificent season, though their form as dipped a little of late with just one Premier League win in their last five but Alex McLeish`s side have done enough this season to show they are a strong side capable of more than holding their own in the Premier League.
Latics lost to Birmingham back in December after being in front and dominating the first half, once again the ability or lack of it to kill off the opposition cost Martinez` team any share of the spoils that day and with just one league victory in the following eleven its no surprise to find Wigan Athletic in the thick of a relegation battle.
Following the Birmingham game, which is the last before a new month dawns upon us, Wigan face Liverpool at the DW Stadium and then travel to neighbours and fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers as March looks set to be a tough month and one that will have a massive bearing on Latics future status as a Premier League club, Burnley are due at the DW on the 20th March and what a six pointer that could prove to be.
Martinez is in no doubt about the need for the club being unified as a whole and that includes the fan, he says: 'The key is to be united and to provide the support that allows our players to perform at their best.
'The fans are the biggest section of this club, and it's a moment where we all need each other and once we get through it we'll be able to go on to the next level.'
Its going to be tough but the Latics should have enough quality to pull through.
Date:Thursday February 25 2010
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