Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Sunday April 4 2010
Wigan Athletic face Fulham on the banks of the Thames this afternoon in what will hopefully be an Easter Extravaganza as far as the Latics are concerned and heres hoping that Roberto Martinez will be egg-static following a cracking display by his team.
Well that`s the puns out of the way, Latics face Fulham without defensive lynchpin Gary Caldwell who starts his well documented three match ban, with Emerson Boyce doubtful January signing Steve Gohouri is pushing for his first Premier League start in the heart of the Latics back four.
Personally having seen Gohouri play in the reserves and the FA cup I`d prefer Martinez to push Scharner back and bring Ben Watson into the midfield at least with Scharner we`d have a defender that can play at this level.
Fingers crossed that Chris Kirkland has also recovered from the virus that kept him out of the Manchester City game, if not then Mike Pollitt must start anyone other than Stojković. If any goalkeeper wasn`t suitable for English football then its Vlad the Imbecile.
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has hit the headlines recently with his team selection against Hull when he rested several key players ahead of Fulhams Europa cup clash with Wolfsburg, with the Cottagers due to play the return leg of their ¼ final tie against the German champions this coming Thursday hopefully Roy will be thinking along the same lines today.
Whatever side Hodgson puts out Fulham are always a formidable team at home and the Latics will need to be on top form for this game, but one more win should be enough to secure Premier League football for another season at the DW Stadium so why not go for it today.
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
'We've got three trips to London left before the end of the season starting this weekend against Fulham.
'Craven Cottage is going to be a tough place to visit because they have been very strong there this season both domestically and in European competitions.
'But I think we've shown no fear this season, wherever we've gone this season we've gone there with a brave attitude and we need to continue that, showing the same qualities we had in the first half-hour at Eastlands.
'Fulham have been able to adapt themselves to the demands of a busy season playing many games. They've coped very well to those demands and will be very ready for Sunday's game, and we'll have to be ready for what will be a very challenging game.
'We need to show the same intensity in our play that we've shown lately and with the right mentality we'll get the rewards.'
All eyes will be on Roy Hodgson and his team selection, Fulham had a tough game on Thursday against Wolfsburg in the Europa League and they face the return leg this coming Thursday.
Johnson and Pantsil are both definitely out, others may be rested.
Schwarzer, Shorey, Hangeland, Baird, Konchesky, Riise, Okaka, Smalling, Dikgacoi, Greening, Davies, Gera, Dempsey, Zamora, Duff, Murphy, Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Hughes, Etuhu, Stoor
If he plays Zamora will be the danger man and he is in a rich vein of form this season with 18 goals to his name.
Gary Caldwell starts his three match ban, Emerson Boyce and Hendry Thomas are both rated as doubtful.
Kirkland, Bramble, Boyce, Scharner, Melchiot, Figueroa, Diame, McCarthy, Thomas, N'Zogbia, Rodallega, Gohouri, Moreno, Scotland, Stojkovic, Gomez, Moses, Sinclair, Pollitt
With Caldwell missing a lot will depend on Bramble at the heart of the defence this afternoon
Latics and Fulham have met on 35 previous occasions in all competitions
Latics have 10 wins, Fulham 13, draws 12.
Mark Clattenburg (Consett)
Find out all there is to know about todays ref right here
Head says 1-1
Heart says 2-1 win for the Latics
Date:Sunday April 4 2010
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