Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Saturday December 26 2009
Latics play their last home game of 2009 hoping to get back to winning ways following a draw and two defeats.
A festive cracker is on the cards for this Boxing Day clash of two Lancashire neighbours and with Blackburn selling out their ticket allocation of 4,600 an atmosphere to warm the cockles on a cold winters day will surely be generated.
With the cancellation of last weeks game Latics are now nervously looking over their shoulder and sit just two points outside a bottom three spot though a win today could lift Roberto`s men as high as 11th such is the tightness of the division this season.
This fixture down the past few years has produced some classic games and the Latics 5-3 win in December 2007 sticks in my mind as one of the best, lets hope for another Christmas cracker today.
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
'Blackburn are a very competitive side, and they'll look to come here in search of a win. I think it will be a very open game, but they do restrict teams to very little, they're organised, strong and they can score goals from out of nowhere
'They also have a huge threat from dead-ball situations and we'll have to be aware of that.
'The concentration levels from set-pieces are vital, but we've been tested on that this season, more recently against Stoke City, and we've showed that we can cope with that.
'Overall, I'm sure it will be an exciting game to watch between two teams looking for a win.'
Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce:
'We haven't put the ball in the back of the net often enough.
'Everything else has been okay, but the one key element, one of the most important elements, not conceding and not scoring hasn't happened.
'Get those two right and you are winning games of football, you only need to look at Birmingham for an example of that, top of the form league over the last eight games.
'Whereas we have got to the point of looking to move onwards and upwards but then all of a sudden faltered by not putting the ball in the back of the net when we've been dominating the opposition and ended up drawing or losing.
'So now we are back under pressure to get three precious points as quickly as possible.'
Momo Diame is racing to be fit from a knee injury but this could be one game too soon for the talented midfield man, otherwise Martinez has a full squad.
Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce, Figueroa, N'Zogbia, Scharner, Thomas, Gomez, Rodallega, Scotland
Latics star performer this season and biggest threat going forward
David Dunn and Vince Grella are out but Sanba and Emmerton should be back.
Robinson, Jacobsen, Nelsen, Givet, Chimbonda, Salgado, Pedersen, Nzonzi, Hoilett, Roberts, McCarthy, Di Santo Kalinic, Brown, Andrews, Diouf, Jones.
Coming back to the DW Stadium might not be a comfortable afternoon or the one time Latics favourite
Latics and Rovers have met 12 times in all competitions with Blackburn having the better of it so far:
Latics 2 wins, Blackburn 9, draws 1.
Last Five Meetings
26/04/09 - Premier League - Blackburn 2 Latics 0
13/12/08 - Premier League - Latics 3 Blackburn 0
22/03/08 - Premier League - Blackburn 3 Latics 1
15/12/07 - Premier League - Latics 5 Blackburn 3
01/01/07 - Premier League - 0 Latics Blackburn 3
Mark Clattenburg (Consett)
Meet the ref article click here
Heart says comfortable 3-1 Latics win
Head says more nervy 2-1 Latics win
Date:Saturday December 26 2009
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