Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Saturday February 9 2008
Stadium of Light
Latics travel to Sunderland for the second time in a month following the FA Cup 3rd round meeting between the two sides which Latics won 0-3 but is completely meaningless as far as today goes.
Steve Bruce will make some changes today following the midweek internationals with Mario Melchiot returning to Wigan injured and Marlon King only returning from Jamaica yesterday (Friday).
This game can be classed as a real six pointer with both sides on 23 points and to take points off your relegation rivals is important psychologically as the season starts to enter the run in.
Last weeks win against West Ham sets the Latics up nicely and a win today and again in the next league match against Derby would put some day light between us and the trap door
Latics boss Steve Bruce:
'36 points might be enough because the teams have all got to play each other as well.
'There are eight teams in there and when you've all got to play one another that restricts the number of points you can get.'
'We can't get carried away, we've got 13 games left and we need the same return - if we get the same as we've got from the last 11 games then I think we'll stay up,'
'So we've done okay by getting ourselves in there, giving ourselves a fighting chance, but we haven't achieved anything yet.'
'Today is a big game, a must win I dont know, but its a must not lose'
Sunderland boss Roy Keane:
'You could not buy the experience we are having at the moment, whether it be the good, the bad, decisions going against us.
'These are all experiences that will make this football club and hopefully make me a top manager.
'The group of players, I wouldn't swap them for anybody, the staff I have got and the supporters. It's fantastic.'
Liam Miller, Kieran Richardson, Dwight Yorke and Grant Leadbitter are all out.
Gordon, Ward, Fulop, Bardsley, McShane, Evans, Collins, Harte, Whitehead, Etuhu, O'Donovan, Jones, Waghorn, Murphy, Stokes, Chopra, Prica.
Sunderland fans seem to love Jones even though I feel he is out of his depth in the Premiership, lets see if he gives Scharner the run around.
Melchiot and Edman are out, Heskey is rated at 50/50 and along with Marlon King will have a late fitness test
Hagen could well be in for a start with Boyce moving to right back covering for the injured Melchiot
Bramble, Scharner, Kilbane, Valencia, Brown, Palacios, Taylor, Bent, Heskey, King, Aghahowa, Boyce, Figueroa, Granqvist, Koumas, Olembe, Sibierski, Hagen, Skoko, Pollitt.
Following his midweek heroics for Wales Koumas could well find himself starting this game for the Latics in an unfamiliar attacking role, on his day he can be superb
Since gaining promotion to the Premier League back in 2005 we have beaten Sunderland on every occasion we have played them, home or away.
Wigan Athletic 3-0 Sunderland
Heskey 19, Landzaat 62 pen, Sibierski 69 pen
Ref: Mike Riley
18th August 2007
Mike Dean (Wirral)
Games - 18
Yellows - 77
Reds - 5
Heart says Latics win 3-0
Head says Latics win 2-0
Either way cant see us not winning nor them scoring
Latics Vs Derby County
Saturday 23rd February 3 pm
Date:Saturday February 9 2008
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