Wigan visit Nottingham in crucial game

Ben Hoskins

I preview Wigan's visit today to Nottingham Forest.

This is one that could prove crucial in Latics' promotion campaign as 7th plays 5th. Wigan being the team to beat at this moment in time whilst Forest being the once to catch in terms of climbing up from 5th. Last time these two played each other was way back in August where Wigan ran out 2-1 winners against Forest after Andy Read put The Reds only to be pegged back by a Shaun Maloney penalty and a Jordi Gomez tap in.

The situation is quite a lot different this time round as we are 2/3 into the season. Wigan lie in 7th a point outside the play-offs with a game in hand. Uwe Rosler's side have won their last 4 in all competitions and only lost 2 of their last 17 fixtures winning their last 3 away games at the same time against Sheffield Wednesday, Cardiff City and Brighton after a disappointing season away from home. Wigan will have learnt not to be complacent under Rosler and know they will have to continue their form to push their promotion campaign further and will look to repeat some impressive away performances in the last few weeks. Rosler had this to say to The Club Website:

"I’ve always said that March and April will be the biggest two months in the season, they’ll be the two months when we see which teams will be in with a chance for the prizes.

"Every game is a big one from now on. Nottingham Forest away is as big for us as Reading, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday were , we have no fear, but we have a lot of respect going into this match.

With focus very much on each game at a time, Rosler added:

"I think there is a lot of focus from the outside on this particular game, but I don’t think where we are right at this moment is particularly a reflection of where we will be.

"There are a lot of games left in this season, a lot of games that can be won, but equally lost, we have to make sure we have a lot of good weeks and no bad weeks.

"We have to address every game without focussing on what the table looks like now, we want to be there at the beginning of May, and I believe we can be."

Nottingham Forest meanwhile aren't into shabby form either, last weekend's 3-1 defeat against Burnley was their first in 15 games. Billy Davies' side are unbeaten in 7 at home winning in 5 of those occasions. Forest sit comfortably in 5th, 5 clear of 6th place Reading and 6 clear of today's visitors Wigan. Davies will know though that if the FA Cup Holders can come away with 3 points today then that gap they have currently will become a whole lot shorter. A win for Forest today could see them leapfrog QPR into 4th whilst a win for Wigan today could see them leapfrog Reading to occupy the last play-off place and close the gap to today hosts to just 3 points with a game in hand against Sheffield Wednesday to be played.

Team News:

Nottingham Forest- Andy Reid joins Henri Lansbury and David Vaughan on the side lines with a hernia whilst Eric Lichaj and kevin Gomis are nearing return but Jack Hobbs is still out.

Wigan Athletic- Ryan Tunnicliffe could make his debut for the club after signing on loan from Fulham earlier this week. Although Callum McManaman and Nick Powell are still out with ankle and hamstring injuries respectively.

Head to Head Wigan have a slim advantage winning 2 of the 6 meetings between the clubs whilst Nottingham Forest have only won 1. Wigan's victories were the last two consecutive meetings between the clubs. The 2-1 win earlier this season and the 4-1 thumping in the Capital One Cup last season. Forest's only victory came almost 13 years ago when they claimed a 1-0 victory over Latics in the old Division One.

Odds: (Paddy Power)

Nottingham Forest- 7/5 (fav)

Draw- 23/10

Wigan- 19/10

Pick- HT Wigan 1-0/ FT Wigan 2-1 @ 30/1

Other Fixtures:

QPR vs Leeds

Bolton vs Blackburn

Bournemouth vs Doncaster

Burnley vs Derby

Huddersfield vs Barnsley

Ipswich Town vs Birmingham

Leicester vs Charlton

Millwall vs Brighton

Reading vs Yeovil

Sheffield Wednesday vs Middlesbrough

Watford vs Blackpool

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