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Wigan Athletic Preview


Saltysellars

MOTM?  

96 members have voted

  1. 1. MOTM?

    • Friedel
      2
    • Emerton
      1
    • Nelsen
      0
    • Samba
      0
    • Warnock
      0
    • bentley
      0
    • Savage
      0
    • Reid
      0
    • MGP
      2
    • Santa
      88
    • McCarthy.
      3


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My second preview in the past three weeks, and I'm hoping that we do a lot better than last time I wrote one, as we ended up on the wrong end of a 4-0 scoreline against Villa. Still onwards and upwards, and a short jaunt down the A49 sees us at the JJB in Wigan on Saturday. After two defeats in the last three games, we need to go on a decent unbeaten run that will see us into the New Year, and it needs to start this weekend. It will be Steve Bruce's third game against us this season to date and I'm hoping that we continue the trend and make it three defeats out of three for Brucey. In the previous two seasons, we've played them on New Years Eve and then New Years Day, so it'll be interesting to see what kind of pre-Christmas following we take. If my memory serves me correctly, we sold out on New Years Eve 2005 and took a pretty decent following on the first day of this year-hangovers and all! Wigan have followed the trend that Rovers seemed to have set by reducing prices for this season on the back of the increased television revenue and with tickets at a bargain £15, and many people on the board making their first away trip of the season (see the "Good News people" thread), I'm fully expecting a sell out again and I'm even dragging my old man on this one. If you think that Steven Reid has spent a long time on the sidelines with his fifteen months being injured, then my Dad hasn't been to an away game since 1992! For the record it was Grimsby in our promotion to the premier league, we were three nil up after half an hour (Wilcox, Price and Sellars) and then had to hang on for the last half an hour after Grimsby scored two in quick succession. It was cold, windy and we had that rotten yellow away kit on, but we won.

I like Wigan. Let's face it any town that has a market stall in the town centre which sells underwear and is called "Nobs and Knockers" has to be good. I went to see Dave Spikey a couple of years ago, and he thought that Wiganers had a warped sense of humour. As an example, he said that he pulled up alongside a pedestrian in the town centre, wound down his window and said "How do you get the JJB?" The reply was "I get a lift with my cousin". Or on a similar theme, asking a local if there was a B&Q in Wigan, "No its W-I-G-A-N" came the witty retort. The Mrs is from Wigan way as well, and although she doesn't like football we always have a little side bet each game, with the prize for the victor being a yard of Jaffa cakes. You may laugh and snort but those chocolate and orange cylinder type thingies are up there with God's greatest creations. Safe to say, over the past couple of seasons, I have taken great pleasure in picking up my prize and hopefully by 5.00 on Saturday, I'll be in pocket again so to speak!

Back to footballing matters, and without being too blunt, Wigan are struggling this season. They’re now in their third successive premier league season, which I think is a great achievement considering that their town is to all intents and purposes a rugby league town and also that most punters didn’t reckon they’d get more than a dozen points in that first campaign. They finished a highly respectable 10th in their first season and got through to the Carling Cup final at Cardiff as well. Like many teams, they suffered from the notorious second season syndrome, and survived on the last day of last season on goal difference by beating Sheffield United 1-0 at Bramall lane. Since then, Paul Jewell has left and Chris Hutchings only lasted a dozen games or so. Steve Bruce is now in charge at the JJB for the second time in his managerial career and he will need to turn things around and sharpish if they don’t want to be playing the likes of Blackpool, North End and our nearest and dearest next season. They currently sit second from bottom on nine points, and haven’t managed a win since the 18th of August. Hull knocked them out of the league cup, and they’ve also suffered heavy defeats at the hands of Man United and Tottenham, although they did manage to keep Arsenal at bay at the Emirates for 80 odd minutes before conceding and eventually going down 2-0. Their latest game saw them defeated by Bolton 4-1, so confidence can't be that high. They do have some decent players who we’ll need to keep an eye on Kirkland is a decent keeper, Sibierski and Scharner always have a habit of popping up with the odd crucial goal, and we’ve seen what Emile Heskey can do with his couple of outings for England this season. Without wanting to give an uneducated view of our opponents, I logged onto vitalfootball.net and got one of the subscribers to answer the following questions. Many thanks to a chap named Worbo.

To think where you guys were at the turn of the century, you must be loving this run in the premiership?

This is dream land and we are living it.

Are teams like our who are consistently punch above our weight, ever going to get the credit we deserve from the media, or are we forever going to be classed as small town teams?

Don't think we are, the media have their darlings though they do like a fairy story each year, it was us in our first season, Reading last year and Sunderland this, but we do get sneered at. As soon as they mention crowds it’s always Wigan, Blackburn and Bolton who get mentioned and how they don't deserve to be in the Premiership because of their poor crowds. This is rubbish. We all deserve to be here because we have earned the right through winning matches.

After a decent start when you were top for a while, what's happened?

Whoops, bit of a false dawn early on, played two poor teams in Boro and Sunderland then we lost key players and never recovered.

Is Steve Bruce the man to save you from your current predicament?

Out of the names mentioned for the job Bruce was the best option, can he save us? A lot will depend on who he can bring in during January, but I think he will get 100% out of the players.

Would you have given Chris Hutchings more time, or did you get rid of him at the right time?

I wouldn't have given Hutch the job in the first place, but once he had it after the first five games it was clear he wasn't up to it and should have gone then.

How's Marcus Bent doing?

Started poor, looked un fit, but puts in the effort now and you can't knock players who give 100%.

Who's been your key player this season?

Got to be Bramble, he is awesome (don't laugh). After expecting the worst very surprised.

And the one you'd most like to put in a taxi and speed him on his way to the next club?

Julius Aghahowa just for missing an absolute sitter against Liverpool in the last minute at 0-1 and also because he is crap.

I saw an interview with Paul Scharner on football focus earlier on this season. Is he really as bonkers as he came across on the TV?

Paul Scharner is a nutter, if he wasn't a professional footballer he'd be sectioned.

Kylie Minogue or Keira Knightley?

Minogue no contest.

What's your impression of Blackburn this year?

Good strong team, don't like your boss though, according to Hughes you never lose because the other side were better, there is always an excuse.

What kind of reception will Jason Roberts get?

Big Jas was a legend and I will applaud him at the start and end but not during the game (can we have him back?)

Which Blackburn player are you most wary of?

Bentley...class.

Prediction?

I'm going for a diplomatic 1-1 draw.

Any recommendations pub wise for a pre-match festive drink?

Red Robin away fans favourite you could also try the Orwell.

And finally- what's your favourite Christmas song of all time?

I believe in Father Christmas - Greg Lake.

Right then, any team where Titus Bramble has been a star performer must be there for the taking. I’m also not keen on his choice of Christmas song, but each to their own I suppose. I would have plumped for Little Drummer Boy by Bing and Bowie, or Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and McColl. With Wigan only being some seventy odd years old, and having only recently broken out of the top two divisions, our paths have rarely crossed save for the pre-season Lancashire cup at Springfield park. Results between the two over the past ten years have been as follows:-

1997-1998 FA Cup third round

Rovers 4-Wigan 2 O.G, Sherwood and Kevin Gallacher (2) Lee, Lowe

2002-2003 League Cup Quarter Final

Wigan 0-Rovers 2 Cole (2)

FA Premier league

Wigan 0-Rovers 3 Pedersen, Reid, Bellamy

Rovers 1-Wigan 1 Kuqi, Roberts

Rovers 2-Wigan 1 Bentley, McCarthy, Heskey. Wigan missed pen (nice one Browny!)

Wigan 0-Rovers 3 Heskey OG, Derbyshire, McCarthy.

So there you have it lads and lasses, a thoroughly decent record against the “pie eaters”, and I’m hoping that this will continue. Just for the record, if that Steven Reid goal on NYE 2005 had missed the goal, it was coming straight at my head, so it’s a good job it went in, or else I probably wouldn’t be sat here typing this. Let’s hope for three points and a rendition of Jingle bells, or at the very least Santa Cruz is coming to town.

If you’re going, give me and my Dad a wave. My Dad will have a scarf which dates back to the Jurassic period and I’ll be the one with the jaffa cakes!!

It’s goodnight from me!

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Who's been your key player this season?

Got to be Bramble, he is awesome (don't laugh). After expecting the worst very surprised.

I am shocked. Fair play if you think he is doing ok for you though.

Kylie Minogue or Keira Knightley?

Minogue no contest.

Nicely thrown in :rolleyes:

I really think we will win this one. I go for 0-3 Santa with 2 and Benni with 1.

(Oh yeah, good preview by the way)

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Considering we have played like a rubbish schoolboy team the last couple of games I expect nothing from this game. At least Bentley is back in the team. Hopefully Hughes will make some changes. IMO he should drop MGP, Tugay, Ooijer, Axe, Dunn and Cruz. MGP have been beyond bad so he should not even make the bench.

Line up should be:

Roberts - McCarthy

Treacy/Peter - Savage - Reid - Bentley

Warnock - Nelsen/Zurab - Samba - Emerton

Friedel

Treacy/Peter might be a bit of a risk. If so, move Bentley on the left and stick Derbyshire wide right.

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Me, the missus, my sister and my dad are going to this one. After yesterdays shambles I am just hoping we at least string a couple of passes together, or that I get too drunk to notice/care...

Normally, after such a disappointing game I want us to batter the opposition in the next game, but I can't help liking Wigan, especially Whelan. That said, Bruce is a nob...

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Good preview and interview Salty.

Can anyone recommend where to park around the JJB. The only time I've been via car before was for the League Cup QF. We parked on the car park at the JJB and it took an hour to get away.

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Great read, well done.

Its a massive derby match that Rovers simply have to win to gain some momentum back.

Looks like Heskey will be out whilst Rovers have both Nelsen and Bentley to return. Oijers injury could be a blessing in disguise.

2-0 Rovers :rover:

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Great read, well done.

Its a massive derby match that Rovers simply have to win to gain some momentum back.

Looks like Heskey will be out whilst Rovers have both Nelsen and Bentley to return. Oijers injury could be a blessing in disguise.

2-0 Rovers :rover:

Wouldn't go that far :blink::wacko:

3-0 top us again Benni Mc x2 and Pederson to finally score

First away game this season so looking forward to it

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Good preview and interview Salty.

Can anyone recommend where to park around the JJB. The only time I've been via car before was for the League Cup QF. We parked on the car park at the JJB and it took an hour to get away.

I think you get clamped for parking at Asda s avoid that!

I go the back way from Chorley, through Coppull or past Duxbury GC and past Worthington Lakes. Either way brings you on to the A49. Either way brings you to a strange roundabout type junction where you turn right on to Mesnes Road, then IMMEDIATE right (20-30 metres) on to Spencer Road. You should start to get signs around here. After the traffic lights that intersect with Gidlow Lane you are on Beech Hill Avenue which leads down to Woodhouse Drive and the stadium.

After the lights I have seen lots of people parking up and then walking down to the ground. There are a lot of quiet looking side streets but I don't know the match day restrictions. Don't know what the match day restrictions, if any, are because we always use the JJB car parks. Last year it wasn't a problem.......but then the stadium was almost empty of Wiganers at full time!!

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Good preview and interview Salty.

Can anyone recommend where to park around the JJB. The only time I've been via car before was for the League Cup QF. We parked on the car park at the JJB and it took an hour to get away.

I always park in the away supporters Car Park which is free and right next to the ground. As you say it is a nightmare getting away however if you get a decent spot near the exit then it is alot easier.

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I always park in the away supporters Car Park which is free and right next to the ground. As you say it is a nightmare getting away however if you get a decent spot near the exit then it is alot easier.

It's now only free when rugby is on, footy fans have to pay

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Christmas Time,

Valium and wine

Children indulging in petty-crime

Dads on the smack

Mums out her tree

Christmas is ace when you come from Burnley!

That was a bit random - but i like it :lol:

Rovers back to winning ways - I also predict a 3-0... Santa, Pedersen, Roberts.

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