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Match Preview: Wigan Athletic vs Fulham

Clive Rose - Getty Images

This game is going to be one of those games, that really we need to win. Why? Well we and Fulham are fighting for the same sort of area this season. Okay they are likely to be near the top of the middle pile, but still we need to be able to go toe to toe with them and pick up so points. On paper that seems really easy, one slight thing though.

Fulham is our out and out bogey team.

Ask any Wigan fan and I bet they will say the same thing. It doesn't matter how well Fulham play, they can beat us. I imagine that if they just had a keeper, that one player would still manage to beat our eleven men. It is just one of those things that in football crops up and happens.

Now I am not a superstitious person, and I have the feeling that Martinez isn't either, so the past record will go out the window, and the players will be doing their best to go out and beat Fulham this weekend.

How are we going to hear you do that I ask. Well we are going to give Franco Di Santo the ball and let him score all those goals he has got building up. The player has two already and should be looking to add more to his tally against Fulham. The one problem he has to face his the Norwegian giant that is Brede Hangeland.

The 6ft6 and a half defender is one of the best in the Premier League, and how Fulham have kept hold of him I do not know. But they are lucky they have. He can just about do everything, and to it all at once. Whether it is last ditch tackling or making that important header, you can guess who will be there to sort it out.

So with that in mind can Franco match up?

Well against Stoke City Franco played against Ryan Shawcross, and looked fairly even. In the header department Franco was poor and wasn't winning many. Yet it was the second ball that he was picking up on, and also beating the defender for skill and/or pace.

Again I believe that Di Santo will try this. To beat Hangeland with his pace and power, when the ball is at his feet, to make the defender turn towards his own goal. You have to say, to think Di Santo is thinking tactically is a joy to be hold, after the flop we thought we had bought in the first season.

The other major battle that will take place on Saturday will be the match up between Dimitar Berbatov and our three defenders. The former United striker is one of the best striking talents about, and everyone has to be jealous of Fulham that they managed to sign him.

He really is one of those players that could score having not been in the game for 40 minutes, which knowing Berbatov is likely to happen. He can be lazy and he can be put off being in games, yet when a chance comes a begging he usually gets scoring them.

So to the match up. The important thing for Wigan, is that Alcaraz will be back fit. The Paraguayan is meant to make his return this weekend after a groin injury, if that is true then we will be better for it. His main role will be to our muscle and out compete Berbatov when the long balls come forward.

Maynor Figueroa will be the man to watch the Bulgarian's movement, in the gap behind him and Gary Caldwell. Gary hasn't had fond memories of playing against Berbatov and he is likely to be deployed deep in his covering role to allow the other two defenders more room to move.

Where we are likely to win the game is in the midfield. Since the loss of Clint Dempsy and Moussa Dembele, Fulham haven't looked as strong across the middle. That is where I feel Martinez will draw his attention to, making Shaun Maloney drop deep into the midfield to give us that extra man to really work home the advantage.

That would then leave Arouna Kone and Di Santo up front on their own, with Di Santo the target with Kone playing off him.

These of course are just ideas, but from how Fulham play, and we can play it is more than likely.

Expect a tight game, with really only one goal in it between the two teams. I have a feeling with home advantage that we could really give Fulham something to think about come Saturday.