Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Saturday January 15 2011
Latics face Fulham today in what is a vital game for both clubs, three points would see Latics leap frog Fulham and climb out of the bottom three, if Fulham get the win then they will put a little breathing space between themselves and the relegation spots, so all to play for.
With special ticket offers for the game the club are expecting a bumper crowd toady, Fulham have sold 1100 tickets and the Latics close to 18,000 so there should be a great atmosphere.
Charles N`Zogbia is back following his three match suspension and will bring back a threat that has been missing in his absence, N`Zogbia is our main outlet and it will be good to have him back for such a vital game.
Fulham have a dire record on the road over the past four seasons, but they won at Stoke recently and undoubtedly that will have given them some confidence, let`s hope the Latics are fired up and the crowd get behind the team inspiring them to getting the three points.
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
'I don't think there are must-win games'
'The way the league is going now, any game is an opportunity to add points. That's going to be the sign of this year's competition.
'We beat Wolves which everyone spoke about being a six-pointer and such a crucial game, and then Wolves beat Liverpool and Chelsea and got six points.
'It shows you the league is different from any other season due to the fact teams are prepared to take risks against the top five and playing with bravery and games are open. If you take your chances you have the chance to win points.
'At the top you have five teams trying to win the title, then teams fighting to get into Europe and eight teams fighting to avoid relegation so it's an open competition.'
Fulham boss Mark Hughes
'We had been playing well prior to the run we have had, but we hadn't been getting results. Now we are getting those results and we are pleased with that. We have won three out of the last four games.
'The continuity we got from a good performance and good result against Peterborough was important and that was part of my thinking when I picked a strong team last week.
'The way the league is at the moment, draws don't really push you up the table. We are looking for three points because that is what consolidates your position. That's what we want.
'If we can get three points away at Wigan, it is another opportunity to build on the fact we got our first away win of the season just recently - and the sort of performance we showed in that game against Stoke.
'Our away form is good and we want that to continue. It is important we are resolute in our travels, because that has been a weakness in our play in recent times.'
Charles N'Zogbia returns following his suspension but James McCarthy, Victor Moses, Franco Di Santo and Tom Cleverley are all missing through injury.
Al-Habsi, Gohouri, Alcaraz, G. Caldwell, Figueroa, Thomas, Watson, Diame, Stam, McArthur, Rodallega, Pollitt, Boyce, Lopez, Gomez, Gomez, S. Caldwell, McManaman
We have missed N'Zogbia's creativity whilst he's been out, good to have him back
Bobby Zamora still remains on the long term injury list whilst Moussa Dembele and Andrew Johnson are still rated as doubtful.
Defenders Matthew Briggs and Philippe Senderos are also out whilst Mark Schwarzer will be absent through international duty.
Steve Sidwell looks set to make his Fulham debut.
Stockdale; Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Baird, Davies, Riise, Murphy, Etuhu, Duff, Dempsey, Johnson, Kamara, Gera, Etheridge, Salcido, Greening, Halliche.
The US international has a habbit of doing well against the Latics
Latics and Fulham have met 37 times
Latics have 10 wins, Fulham 15, draws 12.
Last Six Meetings
30/10/2010 - Premier League - Fulham 2 Latics 0
04/04/2010 - Premier League - Fulham 2 Latics 1
08/11/2009 - Premier League - Latics 1 Fulham 1
07/02/2009 - Premier League - Latics 0 Fulham 0
29/10/2008 - Premier League - Fulham 2 Latics 0
22/12/2007 - Premier League - Fulham 1 Latics 1
Anthony Taylor (Wythenshawe)
Why not take a look at our excellent 'Meet the Ref' artilce
Anthony Taylor Card Watch 2010/11
Games - 19, Yellows - 67, Reds - 10
Head says 1-1
Heart says 2-0 Latics win, as always going with the heart.
Date:Saturday January 15 2011
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