Match Preview: Wigan Athletic vs Norwich City

Jamie McDonald

The first of two must win games, not that all of our games between now and the end of the season aren’t must win, but the next two could tip the balance one way or the other. This weekend Latics face a canaries side who are seven points clear of we chasing Latics.

Norwich were in the bottom three for most of the early months of the season. Then following a great upturn in fortunes, they looked like they would be nice and safe. Yet one win in their last 13 games have seen them cling to their place in the middle of the table.

A win for Wigan at the weekend would move them within four points of Latics, and drag Norwich right into trouble. A win for Norwich puts them ten points clear of us, and they have to start feeling safe then.

It will be a finely poised game. Both teams have players who can hurt the other, and so far this season Norwich have come out on top, when they beat us 2-1 earlier in the season. We managed to pull level with the game in control before losing our heads. At that point in time we were running out of defenders.

Now though it will be a different Latics side they will face. Full of belief and fit players, the lads of the moment could beat quite a few teams. The return of Antolin Alcaraz in the back three is an important one, and it will his job to keep the Norwich frontmen quite.

Kei Kamara the preferred front man for Chris Houghton, with Wes Hoolahan playing just off the striker. It has been a good combination which has, not producing the goals they would like, but they have played well together. The job for us is to keep them not scoring, and scoring at the other end.

Defensively Norwich has conceded ten less goals than Wigan this season, scoring seven less in the process. What does that tell us? Well it is likely to be a draw, and if I was a neutral that is the way I would go, yet we can’t afford a draw.

Wigan need three points, the fans know it, the players know it, and the coaching staff defiantly know it. The interesting thing to watch this weekend will be the team choice yet again; will Martinez go for another risky choice? In some way he has to.

Losing games at this points does us now favours, but nor would drawing games. At home in these matches we have to go it and try and win the game. So hopefully young Callum McManaman will be fit enough to play up front and we can keep the same team as the Newcastle and Everton games.

There is one change I would make, and that is in midfield. James McArthur would drop into the middle for me, and give us a bigger work ethic in the midfield. Jordi Gomez doesn’t really deserve to be dropped, but he just isn’t mobile enough when you need him to be at time.

So here is hoping for a win this Easter.

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