Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Friday February 20 2009
Steve Bruce takes his Latics side to Middlesbrough looking for his first ever point on Teeside as a manager and looking to get the Latics back to winning ways following 3 successive draws.
With European qualification a distinct possibility Bruce can focus his side on playing with confidence and achieving what would be a dream finish to the season for the Latics if indeed we can claim that European spot
In contrast Gareth Southgate finds his Boro side 2nd bottom of the Premier League and without a league win since a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa way back on November 9th
There have been 5 draws and 8 losses since that day and pressure is now mounting on Southgate and some circles are proclaiming a loss today against the Latics and a new manager will be needed at the Riverside
Latics boss Steve Bruce:
'If we win we can start looking upwards away from the relegation zone.
'I've got a bad record on Teesside but I'm hoping we can break that trend.
'And if we get three points, with 12 games remaining, then we could even start challenging for a European spot.'
Boro boss Gareth Southgate:
'We have many of our senior players back and we know what we are capable of achieving when we have our experienced players available.
'We played very well at West Ham and we have to build on that performance.
'The three points are very important we are capable of winning them if we play as we know we can.'
No major injury worries for Southgate
Jones, Turnbull, McMahon, Hoyte, Huth, Pogatetz, Wheater, Bennett, Riggott, Walker, Digard, O'Neil, Bates, Shawky, Tuncay, Downing, Arca, A Johnson, Alves, Emnes.
His battle with Lee Cattermole in the centre of the park could determine which way this game will go
Valencia out with hamstring injury, DeRidder doubtful with thigh strain and Mido ineligible
Kirkland, Melchiot, Scharner, Bramble, Figueroa, Cattermole, N'Zogbia, Kapo, De Ridder, Zaki, Kingson, Pollitt, Edman, Brown, Boyce, Rodallega.
Time for Zaki to start scoring again and fire us on to European qualification
Middlesbrough 1-0 Wigan Athletic
Referee Rob Styles
Boro 4 wins, Latics 2, Draws 3
Mike Dean (Wirral)
Games - 19
Yellows - 78
Reds - 8
Heart says 0-2 Latics win
Head says 0-1 Latics win
Chelsea Vs Latics
Latics Vs West Ham
Date:Friday February 20 2009
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