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[Archived] Wigan Athletic (0-3) Rovers


cn174
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When most people think of Wigan, they think of rugby. But over the past year it is the blue side of Wigan that has been receiving all the media attention! The other team from the JJB had realised Dave Whelan’s dream of seeing Wigan Athletic in the Premiership – just ten years after buying them as a third division club.

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Head-to-head

Rovers have only played Wigan Athletic four times. A lot has changed since Rovers and Wigan first met in the League Cup in 1986. Rovers were in the old second division, Wigan in the old third Division. Rovers won 5-1 on aggregate but I can’t find out who scored.

We have only played each other twice since then, once in the FA Cup in 1998 and once in the League Cup in 2002, winning 4-2 and 2-0 respectively.

This season

Wigan have had an amazing season so far! They were the favourites to be relegated but they have no such worries now sitting 6th in the Premiership with 28 points. On the opening day of the season it took Chelsea until injury time to secure a win but following that defeat they have beaten Sunderland, West Brom, Bolton and Newcastle amongst others. Recently they went on a run of five losses in the league, however a win against Charlton last weekend stopped that run.

Like Rovers they have also progressed into the semi finals of the Carling Cup. Although they won the Autowindscreen Shield in 1999 this is the furthest they’ve ever been in a major cup competition

Connections

Three of the current Wigan team used to play for Rovers.

Aussie keeper John Filan, played 61 times for Rovers before losing his place to Friedel in 2001. He played in almost every game last season when they won promotion, but is now fighting with Pollitt for his place.

Stephane Henchoz played for Rovers until we got relegated when he did one to Liverpool. He joined Wigan last season after losing his place and has formed part of a successful back four this year.

Alan Mahon signed for Rovers from Sporting Lisbon. Whilst we was in the first division he was an important part of our squad although eventually Damien Duff forced him out of the team. After going on loan to both Cardiff and Ipswich he signed for Wigan in February of last year.

Another player to have played for both teams is Mike Newell. He played for Wigan in his early career in from 1983-86 making 64 appearances and scoring 25 goals. He moved to Luton, Leicester and Everton before joining Rovers in 1991 helping Rovers gain promotion to the Premiership.

The main connection people make between Rovers and Wigan is of course Dave Whelan. Whelan broke his leg in the 1960 FA Cup final and at the age of 23 his top-flight playing career was over. In 1978 he bought J.J. Bradburn’s Sports Equipment store which at the time specialised in fishing tackle. Over the 80s and 90s JJB sports grew into a successful store nationwide. Whelan took over Wigan Athletic in 1995. For his first game a crowd of 1,452 turned up at Springfield Park but ever since then Wigan have been on the up with Whelan financing their rise to top flight football.

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The Other View

As is tradition with match previews I asked my friend Phil for some thoughts on the game.

So quite happy with the season so far then?

I’m very happy with the way the season is going. If I had been honest, I’d have probably predicted we would have about 10 points by Christmas to have 28 and be in the semi final of the Carling Cup is brilliant.

Why do you think you've been so successful in the premiership so far?

In my opinion there are two reasons why we have been successful so far. One is because the players work so hard for each other because no one player is bigger than the rest of the team. The other reason is down to the manager, Paul Jewell who has bought some quality players and give the players the confidence that they can go on and beat anybody.

Where do you think you'll finish this year?

I think we will finish around 12th, and I’d be extremely happy if we came 10th.

Who have been your best players so far?

The star so far this season has been Pascal Chimbonda. When we signed him from Bastia, no-one knew who he was but even from the first time I saw him which was in a friendly against Preston, you could see that he was a quality player and he has taken the Premiership by storm. I also think that the return of Arjan De Zeeuw has been a massive lift to both the squad and the fans as he is a great role model and leader for the club.

Which players should we look out for in the game?

I would say Pascal Chimbonda and Jimmy Bullard.

What formation will you play?

More than likely the formation will be 4-4-2.

What do you think about Rovers this year?

To be honest I don’t know much about Rovers this season, but from what I’ve seen on Match Of The Day I think they’ll finish about 14th. They have some good players but are a bit inconsistent

Which players are you worried about?

From what I’ve seen Morten Gamst Pedersen looks a great player and I know that if Craig Bellamy plays that he will be a handful. Paul Dickov was always a bit of a bogey man against us aswell when he used to play for Man City.

Where do you think we'll finish in the league?

I think Rovers will finish about 14th.

Apparently Dave Whelan is giving all Rovers fans a free pie on New Years Eve, does he offer this to you every game?

No, he doesn’t. I’d rather him spend the money on a new player for us than pay to give all the Rovers fans a pie!

You've gone from Division three to the Prem in 10 years, whats gonna happen in the next 10?

Hopefully we will become an established Premiership club, and the benchmark has to be a club like Bolton or Middlesbrough who have recently got into Europe. I think this is an achievable target.

If you only won one game this season, who would you want it to be against and why?

At the beginning of the season I probably would have said Man United, so that I can have a go at my mates and because over the last 10 years they’ve been the biggest club in England.

Do you think Latics will ever be as popular as the Warriors are in Wigan?

I think they already are. This season we’ve been getting bigger gates and if you go into Wigan now you see more Latics shirts than rugby ones.

Who would you like to bring in, in the transfer window?

I really think we need a proven goalscorer. There has been a lot of talk about Fatih Tekke who is a Turkish striker and I know that Jewell has been over to watch him on quite a few occasions. If we don’t get him then I’d like to see the club make a move for Dean Ashton from Norwich. Other than that I don’t really know?

Prediction for the game?!

I think we will win 2-1

Thanks Phil for some answers!!

Personally, after Man U this is the game I most want to win this season and I'm going for a reverse of Phil's prediction with Pedersen and Kuqi scoring.

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Head-to-head

Rovers have only played Wigan Athletic four times. A lot has changed since Rovers and Wigan first met in the League Cup in 1986. Rovers were in the old second division, Wigan in the old third Division. Rovers won 5-1 on aggregate but I can’t find out who scored.

Rovers scorers - 1986

Away (3-1) Ainscow, Barker, Thompson (og)

Home (2-0) Barker (2)

New anorak for Christmas me.

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Looking forward to the free pies from Mr Whelan, lol

I got a feeling we might win this one, bit of a derby match ina way, i think the lads will raise the bar a bit for this game, as they will know Wigan are not the push overs a lot of people thought that they would be.

Wigan-1

Rovers-2

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Great preview.

This should be one of the best games of the year. Wigan are certainly entertaining and if Bellamy plays 90 minutes he should get change from a defence which is good but also a bit slow and square.

The 5,000 Rovers supporters create a fantastic atmosphere and should turn this into a bit of a home game for the lads.

High scoring draw on the cards: 3-3, but this could go in any direction. The only risk to the entertainment value will be if we have a rubbish ref.

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Apparently Dave Whelan is giving all Rovers fans a free pie on New Years Eve, does he offer this to you every game?

No, he doesn’t. I’d rather him spend the money on a new player for us than pay to give all the Rovers fans a pie!

I think he could spare the £20 wink.gif

Think Wigan will beat us by the odd goal

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Wigan 2 - 2 Rovers

Entertaining draw.

10.15 train from Blackburn I think? change at Preston.

369213[/snapback]

Or get the 124 bus to Chorley, then the 362 to Wigan smile.gif Dunno which will be cheapest though

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Upon entering the ground you are given a voucher which can be exchanged for a pie. Simple really.

This is the hardest of our Christmas games, I'd be happy with a point. But sod it, why not get our hopes up for three? I predict a 4-0 win to continue an unbeaten run which will stretch until the end of next season.

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Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. So they're going to shift 5,000 pies to us lot at half time, are they?

Not a devious plot to shut us up and/or make sure a fair few of us are out of the stands come the start of the second half, plus the disruption of those returning late plus pies? thumbs-up.gif

Edited by roversmum
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This just got a little tougher with Tugay out of it now.

Surely Reid will now start alongside Sav. It might have been Thommo if it was against Sunderland. Bellers should start for sure now. Todd could be back too.

Wigan would have played two games during their last 5 days by the time we meet.

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