Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Wednesday December 26 2007
Newcastle arrive at the JJB today fresh from their 2-2 draw against this seasons no-hopers Derby County, still harbouring wild dreams of challenging for Europe.
The Geordies currently lay 9th in the table and although they are on a 4 game unbeaten run they are not exactly setting the Premiership on fire and Allardyce is still a manager under pressure.
Joey Barton made the news earlier this month with comments he made about Newcastle fans putting too much pressure on the team, appears as though the stress is getting to everyone in the North East
By contrast the Latics have started to turn things around somewhat under the leadership of Steve Bruce, 5 points from 4 games and the whole club is buzzing once more.
Marcus Bent is on fire hoping to earn himself a permanent move to the JJB hes certainly going about it in the right way
If Steve Bruces men can pull off a win here today then by 5 pm they could find themselves out of the bottom three and for the first time in three months actually be looking forward to the next game
Denny Landzaat will be making his 50th appearance for the Latics
"Two weeks ago we didn`t have a hope of getting out of the bottom three and now we are in striking distance of that."
'When you take over a club and they haven't won in 13 games, you've got to try and restore the pride and a little bit of belief.
'There were a lot of pleasing things in the game against Fulham.'
"The Christmas period is where people begin to start fighting harder for their position at the bottom".
"Wigan will have picked up some confidence, so I will expect a very difficult game. But it is one in which if we do hit our form - each individual and as a team - we can call it a winnable game."
Latics skipper Mario Melchiot returns after serving a suspension.
Emile Heskey could return following an ankle injury but Jason Koumas remains a major doubt with the groin problem that sidelined him against Fulham.
Latics from: Kirkland, Melchiot, Taylor, Boyce, Bramble, Kilbane, Valencia, Brown, Scharner, Landzaat, Koumas, Bent, Heskey, Aghahowa, Granqvist, Olembe, Koumas, Skoko, Cotterill, Hall, Sibierski, Pollitt.
On fire and with a contract to play for more of the same today Benty
Stephen Carr is fit again as is Abdoulaye Faye, Michael Owen is ready to resume training and could make an appearance in the squad.
Newcastle from: Given, Harper, Carr, Beye, N'Zogbia, Enrique, Rozehnal, Cacapa, Taylor, Faye, Edgar, Geremi, Butt, Barton, Milner, Emre, Duff, Smith, Martins, Viduka, Owen.
Two goals against Derby and the big Aussie is always a threat
Wigan Athletic 1-0 Newcastle United
Ref Alan Wiley
Mike Dean (Wirral)
Games - 11
Reds - 4
Yellow - 55
Heart says 3-1 Latics win
Head says 1-0 Latics win
Latics Vs Aston Villa
Liverpool Vs Latics
Date:Wednesday December 26 2007
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