Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Saturday December 5 2009
Roberto Martinez will be looking for more of the same from his Latics side following on from the good win against Sunderland last week at the DW Stadium.
In town today sees Alex McLeish and Birmingham City looking to continue some excellent form of late, their last two games have both been 1-0 wins and they are unbeaten in the last 5.
Birmingham`s form though should be of no concern to Martinez has he looks to build on last weeks result, the Latics were strong in possession and created some good chances throughout the game, they deserved more than just the one goal they got, the team showed great character bouncing back from the trouncing the week before and it is important for the season to build on this.
Birmingham, like Sunderland are no mugs having won at Wolves last time out and they have beaten both Sunderland and Fulham in recent weeks and of course they were very unfortunate to get only a draw on their last visit to the North West when a dubious penalty allowed Liverpool a share of the spoils at Anfield.
Birmingham have some potent strikers in Kevin Phillips, Cameron Jerome and Cristian Benitez who is known to Latics fans through our connections with him last year, he was almost a Latic in January only for a broken leg to put paid to the transfer.
Lets hope that December starts the same way November finished, with a home win and brings some early festive cheer to the Latics faithful
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
'Birmingham are full of confidence, they've found an established 11 with a lot of experience. They work extremely hard for each other, they're hard to break down and they'll feel that they can come here and get a positive result. So we need to be ready because it's going to be a demanding game.
'Birmingham don't leave themselves exposed, so if either side can gain control of the midfield I feel that will be a critical area. First and foremost you have to earn the right to get control of the ball, and be able to dictate the play.'
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish:
'Wigan showed amazing character after losing 9-1 to Spurs to go on and beat Sunderland the next week, they could easily have been a team that went down the spiral after that.
'Roberto (Martinez) is a purist and plays a certain system, with one up as opposed to 4-4-2 and he had a very successful Swansea team who played that system well and now he's doing it at Wigan.'
Martinez has a full strength squad to choose from and is likely to name the same side that beat Sunderland last week.
Kirkland, Bramble, Scharner, Melchiot, Boyce, Figueroa, N'Zogbia, Diame, Thomas, Scotland, Rodallega.
Subs: Pollitt, Koumas, Amaya, Sinclair, Cho, Gomez, McCarthy.
All sides need a goal scorer and we look like we have ours in Hugo, been in fine form so far this season, long may it continue
Garry O'Conner, Stuart Parnaby, Martin Taylor, Teemu Tainio and David Murphy are definitely out
Hart, Carr, Roger Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, McFadden, Jerome, Benitez.
Subs: Maik Taylor, McSheffrey, Queudrue, O'Shea, Fahey
Former Latics transfer target the Ecuador international is settling into life in the Premier League very nicely
Latics and Brum have met 11 times in all competitions
Latics 5 wins, Brum 2, Draws 3.
Last Five Meetings:
05/04/08: Premier League - Latics 2 Birmingham 0
27/10/07: Premier League - Birmingham 3 Latics 2
08/04/06: Premier League - Latics 1 Birmingham 1
02/01/06: Premier League - Birmingham 2 Latics 0
28/04/92: Divison 3 (old) - Latics 3 Birmingham 0
Lee Probert (Bristol) Meet the Ref click here
Heart says Latics comfortable 2-0 win
Head says Latics scrappy 1-0 win
Stoke City Vs Latics
Liverpool Vs Latics
Date:Saturday December 5 2009
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