Wigan Athletic Vs West Bromwich Albion, Sat 13 Nov 2010

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Wigan manager Roberto Martinez believes there is little difference between his side and opponents West Brom in terms of football philosophy.

Comparisons between the two clubs are obvious, with both having young managers who like to play an attractive brand of football.

However, while Wigan have managed to survive and are in their sixth successive season in the Barclays Premier League, West Brom have been the archetypal yo-yo club.

But having come up from the Championship last season they are making a better job of things this time around, sitting 11th, while the Latics are currently in the bottom three.

Wigan had similar difficulties last season before pulling clear late in the season and, after a number of squad changes in the summer, Martinez has started to see improvements in the last few games, culminating in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

And he remains faithful to his principles, insisting there is scope for clubs the size of Wigan to stay up by playing football.

"One thing is clear; it is important to know how you play and your style because that is for the long-term ambitions of the club but we are working for the short-term and the future," he said.

"It doesn't matter how you play, everything is to win. Sometimes you need to sacrifice certain results in the short term to achieve a certain level.

"But to say you would prefer to get relegated playing good football is wrong - I don't believe it is good football if you don't win games.

"In football it is about winning and being competitive on the pitch and it is important to develop a way to play which allows you to win games.

"West Brom had a fantastic start to the campaign and have taken the league by storm.

"They have a successful team with certain players entering the best moments of their careers, having added just a few in the summer.

"The players and manager know each other well and have been together for a long time.

"Promoted teams get that momentum to carry into the season and West Brom's quality of play allows them to do that.

"For me it is not a real surprise how well they have done."

Defender Steven Gohouri returns to Wigan's squad. The Ivorian was suspended for the midweek draw against Liverpool and after Ronnie Stam excelled at right-back, he may have to settle for a place on the bench.

Emmerson Boyce is still out with a muscle problem while James McCarthy's ankle ligament injury will keep him out for a few more weeks.

West Brom midfielder Graham Dorrans is doubtful for the encounter because of injury.

Dorrans sustained a foot problem in Wednesday`s match against West Ham while Nicky Shorey also has an ankle injury, but the club are hopeful both players will be available.

Ishmael Miller has a stomach strain, picked up in training, and will miss the match, but Youssuf Mulumbu is back from suspension.

West Brom midfielder Paul Scharner is happy to help plot his former club's downfall.

The Austrian, who joined Albion on a free transfer during the summer, spent nearly five years at Wigan but is prepared to use his experience to West Brom's advantage if required.

He said: "If they ask me then I have lots of tips in my pocket. But I think the gaffer will analyse Wigan very well and then we will have a good set-up for the game.

"I am excited because I played for four and a half years for Wigan. It was my longest spell at a club since I was a professional footballer. I am looking forward to meeting all my ex-colleagues."

Scharner added that Wigan's poor early season form is in keeping with a pattern that emerged while he played for the club.

"Actually it's quite similar picture to the seasons before - a very slow start," he said.

"At the moment they are in the relegation zone, but I think they have good potential in the squad to stay in the league."

At just 30, Scharner is the oldest player in the West Brom squad, aside from player/coach Dean Kiely, something he thinks is a positive.

"This shows just how much potential is in the team," he said.

"I'm enjoying it. You can't fight age, just look after your body, so that's what I'm doing."

Scharner was brought in to add mental toughness to the side, and head coach Roberto Di Matteo feels that his team's strong displays towards the end of recent matches have shown this.

"We have the strength and the resilience to come back, which is very difficult in the Premier League," he said


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West Bromwich Albion
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