MATCH PREVIEW: Wigan -v- Wednesday

MATCH PREVIEW: Wigan -v- Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday travel to the DW Stadium knowing a win over Wigan Athletic will see them end the calendar year in the top half of the Championship table for the first time since 2006.

The Latics meanwhile can end 2014 outside the bottom three with a win over Stuart Gray’s Owls, after ending an eight-game winless run on Boxing Day.

All stats come from Soccerbase and Soccernet.

Last Game Opposition Result Shots On Target Corners Cards Fouls Possession
WEDNESDAY Blackpool (H) W 1-0 15 5 3 0 11 59%

Last Game Opposition Result Shots On Target Corners Cards Fouls Possession
WIGAN Leeds (A) W 2-0 9 4 3 1 6 35%

Chris Maguire goal Wednesday Blackpool 2014It wasn’t pretty but Wednesday just about got the job done against rock bottom Blackpool on Boxing Day. Chris Maguire stuck away the penalty after Stevie May was brought down in the box and May would have sealed the win in the second half had his header not been saved brilliantly by Joe Lewis. Keiren Westwood was also forced to make a wonder save to somehow deny Nathan Delfouneso while Ishmail Miller was sent off in stoppage time.

It was a smash-and-grab raid for Wigan at Elland Road as they ended a two-month winless run with a 2-0 victory over fellow strugglers Leeds. Malky Mackay’s side went ahead inside ten minutes when James McClean’s cross was diverted into his own net by Liam Cooper before McClean secured the win with a fierce drive late on.

LAST 5 GAMES Blackpool (h) Fulham (a) Wolves (h) Blackburn (a) Wigan (h)
Wednesday W 1-0 L 4-0 L 1-0 W 2-1 W 2-1

LAST 5 GAMES Leeds (a) Rotherham (h) Watford (a) Norwich (h) Wednesday (a)
Wigan W 2-0 L 2-1 L 2-1 L 1-0 L 2-1

Wednesday ended a two-month winless run when Wigan came to Hillsborough on 29 November, with a Stevie May brace overturning the brief lead Wigan took courtesy of Chris McCann. Since then the Owls have picked up a magnificent win at Blackburn, before being brought back to earth with defeats at the hands of Wolves and Fulham. The win over Blackpool therefore was much-needed and keeps the Owls well clear of the relegation dogfight.

Malky Mackay has failed to reverse Wigan’s fortunes since replacing Uwe Rosler on 19 November. The defeat at Hillsborough was Mackay’s second game in charge and things got no better with narrow losses at the hands of Norwich, Watford and Rotherham. The win at Leeds, though, was priceless and Mackay will be hoping 2015 brings more luck for last season’s playoff semi-finalists.

HEAD 2 HEAD WEDNESDAY WINS WIGAN WINS DRAWS
2 3 0

LAST MEETING: 29 November 2014, Hillsborough, Att – 20,609

Wednesday 2-1 Wigan Athletic

(S. May 27, 71) (C. McCann 26)

Wednesday picked up just their second ever victory over the Latics last month, albeit meetings between the two sides have been infrequent to say the least.

Wigan did the double over the Owls on their return to the Championship last season and they were well in control in the initial Hillsborough fixture when it was abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch.

Last season’s 1-0 defeat was the Owls’ first ever visit to the DW Stadium while Wednesday’s only previous away game against Wigan Athletic also ended in a 1-0 reverse at Springfield Park in the FA Cup in 1977.

The Owls did win at Springfield Park in the 1929 competition, though, against previous incumbents Wigan Borough. The crowd that day was 30,443 – the highest ever attendance at the ground. Wednesday lost in the next round but ended the season champions of England.

11 SHADES OF GRAY

Skipper Glenn Loovens is doubtful for this one after sitting out the Blackpool win due to injury while Lewis McGugan is also unwell and may miss out. Kamil Zayatte returned to the squad on Friday, while Lewis Buxton is also back in contention after returning to full training.

Malky Mackay may have the luxury of naming an unchanged side from the XI that started at Leeds. Leon Barnett missed that game with a hamstring injury which may rule him out again, while Grant Holt is unlikely to feature on his return to the club due to a knee injury.

WESTWOOD

WESTWOOD

PALMER

PALMER

LEES

LEES

DIELNA

DIELNA

MATTOCK

MATTOCK

SEMEDO

SEMEDO

HELAN

HELAN

MAGUIRE

MAGUIRE

LEE

LEE

DRENTHE

DRENTHE

MAY

MAY

 

KEY PLAYERS

Stevie May finally found his scoring boots when Wigan visited Hillsborough last month and many, myself included, hoped it would be the start of a goalrush for the young Scotsman. Unfortunately he has not scored since, despite having a whole host of chances and he needs to covert chances into goals to keep Wednesday moving in the right direction and to keep the impatient Hillsborough faithful off his back.

Callum McManaman burst onto the scene during Wigan’s relegation from the Premier League in 2011/12 and the talented young midfielder continues to be key to the Latics’ hopes, scoring five so far this season, although only one since August. A player with his talent should not be embroiled in a fight to stay in the Championship.

THE BETTING BOX: 5 OF THE BEST

BET Wednesday WIN Wigan WIN DRAW Tom Lees first goal Correct Score 0-4
BEST ODDS 11/4 6/5 12/5 35/1 200/1
BOOKIES betfair-logo Bookies Badge Hills Bookies Badge Bet365 BetVictor-logo Paddy Power

Despite their lowly position, Wigan are favourites here with a best price of 6/5 at Bill Hill. Wednesday are a tempting 11/4 to win again in Lancashire as they did at Ewood Park while the draw is 12/5 with most bookies.

Despite not bagging since October, Marc-Antoine Fortune is favourite to open the scoring at 13/2 (Stan James) while Stevie May is Wednesday’s best bet at 15/2 (bet365).

Wednesday to reverse their last away scoreline and win 4-0 is 200/1 with Paddy Power.

CREG’S VERDICT

Wednesday can end the year on a high with a win at Wigan, which would mean back-to-back wins to end 2014 and a confidence boost ahead of the daunting return to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Ending the year in the top half of the table would be a magnificent achievement given the budgetary constraints enforced upon Stuart Gray and the negative impact of the non-takeover in the summer.

Yet disappointing home form has left some Wednesdayites disillusioned, despite some terrific results on the road.

If the Owls lose tomorrow night, we will be looking over our shoulders again and the fear is that another big defeat against City could again be the catalyst for a bad run in the league.

Nobody expects us to mount a challenge for the playoffs, unless Milan finds £10 million down the back of his sofa, but our New Year’s Resolution has to be to improve our home form and get to 50 points sooner rather than later.

Three points at struggling Wigan would be another big step towards that figure.

VERDICT: Wednesday to end the year as mid-table fodder with a hard-earned 1-1 draw.

Creg
Owls Alive
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TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @CraigSWFC


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