- Wigan Athletic v Brighton & Hove Albion match preview.
- Graham Barrow: “I don't see any point in going there and parking the bus"
- Latics aim to spoil Brighton’s promotion party.
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION v WIGAN ATHLETIC
SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP
MONDAY 17 April 2017
Kick off 3.00pm
TICKETS: This game is now sold out, there are no sales on the day.
Latics need snookers to survive in the Sky Bet Championship, but Nick Powell’s mastery over the past two games has at least given us hope, six points from six going into this game has kept us alive. Results over the weekend has seen the gap to safety reduced to five points with four games to play; it’s still a mountain to climb, but Graham Barrow knows his men will give everything they have while there is still a chance.
The next challenge is to be party-poopers at The Amex, a win for Brighton on Monday making it 99.9% certain the Seagulls will achieve promotion to the Premier League; Huddersfield in 3rd place having not only to win all their remaining games and Brighton lose theirs, but also make up a goal difference of 31. The Terriers only kick off at 5.00pm at Derby, so Brighton’s fate will not be definitively decided by the end of the Latics match, although victory for Chris Hughton’s men will effectively confirm what has been on the cards for many weeks.
So the challenge for Barrow’s boys is to keep their hosts’ champagne on ice for another few days, while also giving themselves further hope that a miracle escape is still possible. And with Nick Powell in our side, you just never know…
Chris Hughton, calming influence
Graham Barrow was handed a real blow with the news that Alex Gilbey had sustained a serious knee problem against Rotherham, and he joins an injured list comprising Omar Bogle, Will Grigg, Andy Kellett, Reece James, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Donervon Daniels. Barrow suggested Nick Powell, despite his incredible eleven minute hat-trick against Barnsley, is not ready to start.
Brighton were able to field an unchanged side in their victory at Wolves on Good Friday, but Hughton may feel the need to refresh something for this one. Two players who will not be featuring are Shane Duffy and Sam Baldock.
SEASON SO FAR
It’s been more or less the perfect campaign for Albion, who have consolidated after the disappointment of missing out in the play-offs last season and rather let that disappointment put them off their stride, they look to be going one better this time around.
Seven defeats in 42 games is just about as good as it gets in the ultra-competitive Sky Bet Championship, only two of those coming at the Amex – against Newcastle United and Brentford. It is going to be some challenge to get anything from this one.
Everywhere you look, there are threats in an Albion team who have been incredibly consistent for two seasons now and look deservedly to be going up to the Premier League.
Anthony Knockaert, creative spark
Mercurial French forward Anthony Knockaert, just voted Championship Player of The Year, is the creative heartbeat of the side and chips in with more than his fair share of goals, the two he scored at Molineux taking his season’s tally to 15. In Glen Murray, Albion have an experienced predator in front of goal. There is a great mix of experience and youth in midfield, with Steve Sidwell still pulling the strings at the age of 34, while Lewis Dunk is a powerful figure at the back, in front of the reliable David Stockdale.
CURRENT SQUAD, 2016-17 LEADING LEAGUE GOALSCORERS
21, Glenn Murray
15, Anthony Knockaert
11, Sam Baldock
11, Tomer Hemed
HEAD TO HEAD
Not that much history, the sides have only met 15 times over the years, in the second and third tier. Brighton lead the record with eight victories to Latics’ six, with just a solitary draw.
Latics have played twice before at The Amex, both times under Uwe Rosler, both in 2014. James McArthur and Chris McCann scored in a 2-1 victory in February of the 13-14 season, while Latics went down to a 1-0 defeat in November of the 14-15 season.
Brighton won the corresponding fixture 1-0 at the DW Stadium back in October, Dale Stephens scoring the only goal of the game.
PLAYED FOR BOTH CLUBS:
Not a huge amount of connections. The obvious one is Gaetan Bong. Recently, Craig Davies and Alex Revell also played for both. Ali Al Habsi played one game on loan from Latics at the Amex in 2014, Liam Ridgewell was also there on loan after his spell with us while Paul Rogers played for the Seagulls after leaving Latics in 1999 and is still part of the commercial department. Jason Jarrett played briefly for Brighton too after leaving us, as did Dave Beasant. Further back, Warren Aspinall finished his career with Brighton having begun it with us. On the managerial side, both Chris Hutchings and Ian McNeill had spells at the Goldstone Ground as players.
Ali Al Habsi, in his one game for Albion.
Referee: James Linnington
Assistant Referee 1 – Neil Davies
Assistant Referee 2 – Mark Pottage
Fourth Official – Ashvin Degnarain