- Wigan Athletic v Cardiff City match preview.
- Graham Barrow: “The players have delivered before, they can do it again”
- Latics must win to keep survival quest alive
WIGAN ATHLETIC v CARDIFF CITY
SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP
SATURDAY 22 April 2017
Kick off 3.00pm
TICKETS: Purchase in advance for the best price, details here
GRAHAM BARROW: Read his thoughts on 'must-win' game, here
PRE-MATCH ODDS: With Official club betting partner Mr Green, here
IF YOU CAN'T MAKE IT: Full match commentary with Ashley Houghton on Latics Player / Wish FM, details here
This really is a must win game which Latics need to approach with only one aim in mind.
A victory would definitely keep Latics alive in their quest for survival and that is exactly what Graham Barrow will be telling his players, to remain focused on getting three points from this game.
A defeat could mean relegation but Latics need to banish any thoughts from their heads other than getting the job done because victory would ensure that they can take the survival battle on to Reading next weekend.
From Cardiff City’s point of view, they are marooned in mid-table with nothing to play for but pride, very much like our previous two opponents, Rotherham United and Barnsley, and as such, could well be dangerous as they can play with freedom after the vastly experienced Neil Warnock has led them to safety.
It will probably boil down to desire on the day…and maybe a bit of Nick Powell too.
Neil Warnock, experience
The big question for Graham Barrow will be whether he starts Powell, whose contribution of five goals in 72 minutes in the last three games – three substitute appearances – has been extraordinary.
Matt Gilks will replace Jakob Haugaard in goal after the latter sustained a shouilder injury at Brighton and Barrow has hinted that Omar Bogle and Reece Burke could feature. Ryan Tunnicliffe returned to the side at Brighton after missing eight games. The injury list definitely includes Alex Gilbey, Will Grigg, Donervon Daniels, Reece James and Andy Kellett.
For Cardiff, Sol Bamba may miss the game with a groin strain and Peter Wittingham, having returned to the side that beat Nottingham Forest on Monday, could keep his place. Warnock revealed that that there has been a sickness bug in the camp and that Declan John would miss out.
SEASON SO FAR
Cardiff’s season is over but having been in the bottom three alongside Latics in the autumn, their safety now must be considered a success – although clearly that would not have been the aim at the start of the campaign.
Paul Trollope was replaced by Neil Warnock in the first week of October (who ironically was in the dugout celebrating as Brighton & Hove Albion assistant manager last Monday) and the rest of the season has been classic Warnock, who yet again has guided a team to safety with a brand of football which does exactly what it says on the tin: gets results. There is probably no one else with as good a track record in the game.
When Latics beat The Bluebirds at the Cardiff City Stadium at the end of October with Graham Barrow in charge, we came to within a point of them, but the gap of 18 points coming into this match really tells everything there is to tell about the clubs’ respective paths since that match.
Junior Hoilett, pace
Danish striker Kenneth Zohore has been netting the goals this season after signing permanently last summer from Belgian club K.V. Kortrijk. However, the squad has some great experience with the likes of Sol Bamba, Peter Wittingham, Rickie Lambert, Anthony Pilkington and the lightning-fast Junior Hoilett, who was with Warnock at QPR. As with any Championship team, they will carry a big threat with them and Latics will have to be prepared.
CURRENT SQUAD, 2016-17 LEADING LEAGUE GOALSCORERS
11, Kenneth Zohore
7, Anthony Pilkington
7, Peter Wittingham
6, Joe Ralls
4, Kadeem Harris
4, Rickie Lambert
4, Sean Morrison
HEAD TO HEAD
History is with us for this one. The teams have met 26 times in the league, all in the second or third tiers, with Latics currently leading the wins tally 10-6. There is also the FA Cup victory at the Cardiff City Stadium in 2014.
In terms of games in Wigan, Latics are 6-2 ahead, although the Bluebirds haven’t lost in Wigan since August 2004 – albeit the only game in that period was in February 2015, when Cardiff City won 1-0.
PLAYED FOR BOTH CLUBS:
Quite a few connections over the years. In terms of recent playing staff, Adam Le Fondre came to Latics while Emyr Huws went the other way last summer. Alex Revell was on loan with us from Cardiff in late 2015. Andrew Taylor, who is still officially a Latics player, was also signed from Cardiff, as were Don Cowie, Kevin McNaughton, Kim Bo Kyung and Leon Barnett. Haris Vuckic was also on loan there.
Looking back in time, Nicky Maynard, Jason Koumas, Alan Mahon, Graham Kavanagh, Simon Haworth, Peter Thorne and John Butler all played for both. Managerially, Malky Mackay links the clubs.
Graham Kavanagh, fondly remembered at both
Referee - Oliver Langford: 16-17:25 matches, 74Y, 4R
Assistant Referee 1 - James Wilson
Assistant Referee 2 - Robert Merchant
Fourth Official - Ross Joyce