Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Saturday December 31 2011
Latics travel to Stoke in what is a real fitting end to the year considering what happened in the last game of last season back in May.
Joyous scenes with the Latics securing a seventh consecutive Premier League season with a gutsy 1-0 win, strange that with the year coming to an end that a gutsy win is exactly what is required again, New Years Eve or Groundhog Day?
The big news as far as the Latics are concerned is that Conor Sammon`s red card has been rescinded, the big Irishman is set to continue his recent run in the team
Stoke have been troubled by a few injury concerns but they are a dangerous side to play against, especially at home, this will be a tough game for the Latics, but, just as back in May, it`s a tough encounter that they need to come through.
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
"We need to perform well and get a result"
"It is an important game for ourselves and its very important to get a positive result"
"All their home results have been very impressive and we know it will be very difficult"
"They are the Kings of the deadball situation and they have great wide players also"
"We`ll need to be perfect, but I feel the players are ready"
Stoke boss Tony Pulis:
'Yes, they've got some good players. I like James McCarthy in midfield. Victor Moses has done well and Jordi Gomez looks an intelligent player.
'Hugo Rodallega can't get in the team, and he's been a thorn in our side whenever we've played them, so they must be doing well.
'Roberto would prefer a few more points, but they are doing well.'
Peter Crouch, Robert Huth and Glenn Whelan are all doubtful
Stoke from: Sorensen, Woodgate, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Shotton, Whitehead, Palacios, Jones, Walters, Begovic, Upson, Wilkinson, Diao, Pennant, Delap, Jerome
El Mago will face his former club for the first time in quite a while, class player
With Conor Sammon getting his red card rescinded it's a full strength squad for Martinez to choose from
Latics probable: Al-Habsi, Stam, Figueroa, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Jones, Diame, McCarthy, Gomez, Moses, Sammon
Hopefully flying Stam can provide a creative outlet
By permission of Bernard Platt/Wigan Athletic
Latics and Stoke have faced each other 25 times
Latics 6 wins, Stoke 10, draws 9
Michael Oliver (Northumberland)
Take a look at our excellent 'Meet The Ref' article
Michael Oliver Card Watch 2011/12:
Games - 14, yellows - 39, reds - 2
Head says 1-1 draw
Heart says 1-2 Latics away win, as always going with the heart
Date:Saturday December 31 2011
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