Sam Allardyce hailed Blackburn's fighting spirit after goals from Benni McCarthy and Ryan Nelsen moved his side to within one more win of securing Barclays Premier League survival.

McCarthy struck on the stroke of half-time and Nelsen nodded home his first league goal in 111 appearances as Rovers seized the opportunity to see off Wigan 2-0 and leapfrog Hull and Sunderland into 15th place.

Allardyce said: "We've done the job and it should give us a lot of confidence. It's a great show of character and determination from the lads and heroic defending was necessary on occasions."

He added: "We're not safe just yet but we're nearly there. I think we've now accumulated 24 points in the 17 games since I've been here which is an excellent record and now we've got one more win to get."

It might have been a different story if Antonio Valencia's third-minute shot not clattered the underside of the bar or had Rovers keeper Paul Robinson not been in excellent form to deny Charles N'Zogbia and Emmerson Boyce.

Wigan boss Steve Bruce admitted: "When Antonio hit the bar you did wonder if it was going to be one of those days and it was. It summed it up in the last minute when they cleared three shots off the line."

Rovers once again resorted to using centre-back Chris Samba as a makeshift striker in the absence of Jason Roberts and Roque Santa Cruz, and he proved a real handful as he harried the visiting defence early on.

Lee Cattermole had to boot an El-Hadji Diouf header off the line in the 23rd minute while N'Zogbia and Ben Watson came close for Wigan before McCarthy struck in the 45th minute, heading Morten Gamst Pedersen's corner past Chris Kirkland.

Bruce added: "We spent all week talking about set-pieces then they go and score from a corner and a free-kick. That made the difference because I don't think they created too many opportunities and we hit the bar and their keeper was man of the match."

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Topics:
Sunderland
Chris Kirkland
Morten Gamst Pedersen
Emmerson Boyce
Football
Blackburn Rovers
Paul Robinson
Lee Cattermole
Ben Watson
Premier League
Steve Bruce
El-Hadji Diouf
Roque Santa Cruz
Ryan Nelsen
Wigan Athletic
Charles N'Zogbia
Antonio Valencia
Hull City
Jason Roberts
Ben Watson
Paul Robinson