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Preview: Wigan Athletic vs Newcaste United

Newcastle forward Papiss Cisse celebrates after scoring the first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between  Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Sports Direct Arena.
Newcastle forward Papiss Cisse celebrates after scoring the first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Sports Direct Arena.

It wasn't meant to be this close! After a great past few results for Wigan, everyone else has upped their game, and it now means that this weekends game against Newcastle is going to be a big one. In other words we have to win, although we were planing on that already, having not picked up anything against Fulham has seriously hurt us.

The good news is that we are still playing well Fulham is and always will be Fulham. We never seem able to play well or beat them, but the game on Saturday was ours for the taking as much as theirs. But with the home support, the London club was always likely to nick that winning goal. The story of our season.

So with three games to go (four if your Bolton) everything is now on a knife edge. Bolton and Blackburn are only one point behind us, while QPR are only in front of us on goal difference, this couldn't be tighter and we don't really deserve them to be so tight.

So the stage is set for three cup final games. And our first is at fortress DW where we will face an inspiring Newcastle United side who for me are team of the year. They have been up and around that top four area all season, have played some really really good football. It looked to have wobbled over Christmas and January, but then in came Papiss Cisse.

The Senegalese striker has been a revelation since joining for £10 million from German side Freiburg. The thing is this guy hasn't stopped scoring. So far he has got 11 goals in 10 appearances for Newcastle and he doesn't look like stopping. The problem with him, is the fact that he can play in so many different ways, teams can't defend against him.

One minute he maybe the player coming short, the next the player looking to sprint in behind you. Or even the player lurking on the edge of the box looking from the cut back from the wide players. I am not saying that he is the only player to watch out for from Newcastle (the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa pose a massive threat) , but it helps your midfielders if you have a striker like him to aim for, in and around the box.

The hope for Wigan, is that our three center back system may help us here. If Gary Caldwell can keep Maynor Figueroa and Antolin Alcaraz on a tight leash and watch his movements, we might be able to mark him out of the game. But i wouldn't hold your breathe.

We have to hope that our own strikers will be fit and ready, and it looks like both Rodallega and Di Santo could return to the squad for the game. Franco would be a great help, as his burst of pace and strength have been a great help up front for us. Without him up front, I feel we are a bit lacking, Connor Sammon hasn't really lived up to what we felt we have bought. But he is a cheaper flop than Fernando Torres.

It will come down to a game of who scores first and who scores the most. Its going to be a sell out crowd to cheer the lads on and they are going to need it. It the first of three important games for Latics and they have to, and can win this one.

Keep The Faith!