Latics travel down to the South Coast today to face newly promoted Southampton in what promises to be a high octane game. The Saints first home game of the season will undoubtedly be cheered on by a full house at St Marys as the fans celebrate the return to the top flight after a seven year absence
The Saints are also managed by Latics old boy Nigel Adkins who spent seven seasons at Springfield Park and made 155 appearances for us back between 1986-93.
The departure of Victor Moses to Chelsea will have an effect on the Latics attacking potential, obviously Martinez hasn't had time to bring in a replacement with the Moses deal being finalised late last night, so who will come in to replace him this afternoon is the big question
Crusat or Gomez are the likely choices, but it wouldn't surprise me to see Arouna Koné start through the middle with Di Santo going wide, we'll find out around 2:20 this afternoon
A tough encounter for the Latics but I do feel we will get something from the game, last weekend's defeat to Chelsea, though a setback, take out the first ten minutes and we were the better side
So a good start required from the Latics, let's get our season off and running
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
'I think we need to look back at the experiences we had last season where we faced Norwich, Swansea and QPR in the first three games, and probably two years back when we had another newly-promoted side in Blackpool.
'You play a side full of energy and enthusiasm and look at Southampton - if you had any questions about how they were going to adapt at this level, look at the fact that they scored two goals at the Etihad Stadium from open play.
'I think that answers everything. They are going to be brave, really enthusiastic and have a very special environment, and we have to be able to cope with that.
'We have done in the past, and we need to make sure that we are ourselves. It is going to be a tremendous fixture.'
Saints boss Nigel Adkins:
'I'd like to think we have intelligent players who can play in several different areas'
'Ultimately when you've got the ball, everyone's an attacker. And when you haven't got the ball, everyone is a defender.
'Again, it is giving yourself a situation to try and control the game with the football, get one-one-one duels and see if you can get a mismatch somewhere on the pitch to see if you can get yourself an opportunity to score.'
Midfielder Jack Cork is out with an ankle injury, Rickie Lambert though could be in line for a start after only featuring as a second half sub against Man City last week.
Southampton from - Davis, Kline, Hooiveld, Fonte, Fox, Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Guly, S. Davis, Puncheon, Sharp, Lambert, Rodriguez, Richardson, Seaborne
A graduate of Saints' fabled academy and has shone during the two promotion seasons. He can score and assist making him a firm fans favourite
Victor Moses is no longer with us having signed for Chelsea yesterday, be interesting to see who lines up in his position, Maloney, McArthur and Beausejour are all undergoing fitness tests before the team is named.
Latics possible - Al Habsi, Ramis, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy, McArthur, Maloney, Beausejour, Di Santo
With Moses gone and the Saints fired up, it will be important for Boycey to have a big game down the right side for us today, Mr Reliable will step up to the mark
By permission of Bernard Platt/Wigan Athletic
The Latics and Southampton have met on just the one occasion back in January 1986, 3rd round of the FA cup played at the Dell, the Latics were in Division 3, Southampton the top flight, the result?
Southampton 3-0 Latics
Anthony Taylor (Wythenshawe)
'Meet The Ref'
Head says tough fought out 1-1
Heart says Latics to pip it 1-2
As always, going with the heart
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