Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Saturday March 3 2007
City of Manchester Stadium
November's flip side of this fixture provided what was perhaps the most embarrassing display of a pretty awful league season so far.
City conceded two in the first five minutes at the JJB stadium and never recovered, eventually going down 4-0 to a team who had previously been in a poor run of form. Sounds like a familiar course of events to me.
That defeat effectively ended mass support from within the stands for Stuart Pearce and it is perhaps to his credit, and his ability to get a result when he desperately needs one, that he still remains in the manager's seat four months on.
Today is another of those must win fixtures. Wigan lie two places and one point below City in the Premiership. They seem to have found some form of late while City continue to struggle in the league, having failed to win in the league for five games.
Just like last season City will follow this fixture with an FA Cup quarter final. Let's hope both fixtures are an enormous improvement on this time last season and that we can put to bed the embarrassment of November's 4-0 reverse.
'I recognise we are right in the thick of it. I have been saying that for some weeks now.
'We have to aim for 40 points and go from there. That is what everybody around us will be doing.'
'From our point of view the more clubs scrapping it out for survival, the better.
'Every game is massive, but these three don't really come any bigger for a club like Wigan and could go a long way to preserving our Premiership status.'
Emile Mpenza stands by to make his debut for the blues with a huge weight of expectation building on his shoulders already. The other strikers inability to find the net has meant supporters are hoping that Mpenza will be the masterstroke signing.
Dickov is once again available although Vassell, Onouha and Sinclair are all still absent with injuries.
Overdue a good game and generally does better at home than on his travels.
Hall is suspended and Camara is injured. Folan could return after an ankle injury.
Never ever has Heskey impressed me as a player. So why is it that he has a habit of finding the net against City? Nailed on goalscorer maybe.
A pretty poor record of late against the pie eaters needs arresting. The last three league fixtures between the sides have seen Wigan come out on top 4-3, 1-0 and 4-0.
City supporters shouldn't despair however, the blues did manage to turn Wigan over in last season's FA cup with a 1-0 win at Eastlands. Problem was, it was a weakened Wigan side.
Howard Webb ... Thought he had a good cup final last week despite Arsene's whinges. Hope he keeps the game flowing.
City to carry their cup form into this fixture and take the points with a 2-0 win.
Blackburn (a) FA Cup quarter final. Sun 11/03/2007 @ 1600.
Date:Saturday March 3 2007
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