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Match Preview: Wigan Athletic vs Sunderland

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On a snowy January day, I now sit and write a for a match that could be pivotal in Wigan's forthcoming season. We are now just above the drop zone on goal difference, and Aston Villa could be ready to pounce on any slip ups we make. While today we face a team which is five points clear of us, a win and we could be within two points of the wearside club.

Julian Finney

Taking the confidence from a good week is going to be important. Every player in the squad has to feel that we can survie and that we can win the game today, otherwise we will fail. Work hard and take our chances when they come, that we have not done enough of this season, and now with no Arouna Kone to step up and score, who will take his place?

Last weekend both Franco Di Santo and Shaun Maloney worked hard to score against Fulham, in the end the former of the two managed to bag Wigan's only game of the match. And not for the want without trying! An inspired Mark Schwazer had to keep them out, and that has to be the same today with Simon Mignolet in goal for Sunderland.

Or will there be a change in strike force this weekend? Will Angelo Henriquez get his starting chance in a Premer League game, and will he take it? At home needing the three points, personally I stick him up font and give him the first half of the game, if he does well keep him on, if not replace him with someone else.

But that is not always the thoughts of Roberto Martinez. His real decision though has to be made in defence, with no Ivan Ramis, who come into replace the injured defender? It is most likely that Emmerson Boyce will move centerally and then Ronnie Stam will go into the right wing back position. Or has Roman Golobart been considered? The young defender who has had two very good FA Cup matches for the club against Bournemouth, I some how feel he won't be starting today.

That is when you look at the strike force that Sunderland posess. Steven Fletcher, Adam Johnsonn, James McClean and Stephane Sessegnon now who out of them do you not have to worry about? Well not worrying about one could be your downfall. As it was for West Ham United last weekend as they lost 3-0 at the Sadium of Light. Something we can't afford to repeat.

The probelm is not that the four of them are talented, which of course they are, it is the fact that they can play in so many different roles. Each one has a slightly different playing style and if you concentrate too much on markig on player out of the game, then the others could sieze that to their advantage.

It will be close, as most of our game have been this season, I am sure Sunderland will have good periods of possesion and so will we. It comes down to that crucial thing of scoring goals, and then keeping your nose in front.

So enjoy the game, as I hope it will be a good one! But if it is not, yet Wigan still win, then it will still have been a good one.