Rob's Preview: Wigan V Sunderland
Wigan welcome back Steve Bruce's Sunderland to the DW Stadium for what promises to be a good game of football, but one thing is for certain - there will be little love loss in this game and Wigan welcome back some old players this afternoon in the form of Titus Bramble and Lee Cattermole.
Bramble has gone on record to say he will do his old club no favours and Cattermole has said how much he loves Wigan! Mind games, I think, personally. Nevertheless, there could be truth in what both say and it will need to be a gritty performance to match Sunderland today, who are riding high after an impressive win over Manchester City, who have yet again proven that despite their bottomless pit of money, are still lacking something to take them to the glory they so crave.
Roberto Martinez could give a full debut to Franco Di Santo today and it depends on whom Roberto wants to play up front as the forward line could be uncertain for this afternoon. If it was possible, I'd choose Hugo to partner him as Mauro is finding it hard to settle in, despite some flashes of promise from the lad. I think he's gradually settling in and the best from him may yet be still to come.
The team will be eager to put the bad start behind them but two heavy defeats to Blackpool and Chelsea tells a very sad story and I just have a feeling this could be a very tricky fixture for Wigan, riding high after a superb win at Tottenham Hotspur - I expect little movement in the table today but those three points at Spurs could be just so more significant than just a fantastic win!
I won't be Mr. Popular today with my prediction. I just believe that if last season's result structure is anything to go by, we could be in for a pretty unpleasant afternoon, but I do think that Wigan have turned a corner and will put in a shift, but Sunderland for me may just shade this encounter, but it could be a tight game nevertheless. For once, I am ashamed to say, I agree with Mark Lawrenson on the prediction, but not the score.
Wigan 0 Sunderland 1
ROB'S FINAL THOUGHT
Wigan's 1-0 result at Spurs was just so wonderful and I'm really hoping Wigan prove me wrong because despite my prediction, I am really just not sure about the result today as in fairness, Sunderland's record at the DW is not great, so it could swing either way. I would take a draw in a heartbeat, in all honesty. A win would really lift my spirits for my trip to Kent tomorrow where I can torment my brother-in-law who is an avid Spurs supporter. So fingers crossed for a Wigan thrashing of Sunderland and Huddersfield win at Leyton Orient for my dad.