Latics continue to do it the hard way

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The DW Stadium has played host to something of a North West mini league this week, what with the Latics taking on Manchester City on Sunday and local rivals Preston North End on Wednesday night.

And, though the results and performances have been mixed, Roberto Martinez's side should take a lot of confidence out of the first half performance against City and the second half showing against Darren Ferguson's Preston.

What the fans will be hoping for now is a full 90 minutes of the intensity of those 'good' halves. Saturday's visit to Birmingham - with their long unbeaten run at St Andrews - will require nothing less.

Manchester City were on a run of their own when they came to the DW last Sunday, although it was an unwanted one; they'd not won there in five attempts in the Premier League until Carlos Tevez and Yaya Toure wrapped up the points for them.

More encouraging signs came on the wet Wednesday night against Preston, in the game Wigan could not lose, according to some fans.

Local derbies are always difficult to predict, and after a bright start Wigan again found themselves behind after a freak goal from Treacy beat Al Habsi at the near post. For the first time, Wigan would have to score more than one goal at home in order to win the game, unless they were to face the dreaded penalties.

Also, they'd have to see out the rest of the game without conceding again, something they've failed to do on a number of occasions this season. Of course, the team did it the hard way.

Fans' fingernails were bitten to the quick by the time Jordi Gomez and Charles N'Zogbia laid on their own, heroic late, late show. Also, the Latics seemed to have unearthed, quite by accident, a new star defender.

He goes by the name of The Woodwork, and his two blocks last night, when Al Habsi was beaten all ends up, eventually proved to be just as important and match-winning as the goals.

Wigan now go into Saturday's draw (which takes place at 12.15) and for once, Roberto Martinez might not have his fingers crossed hoping for an away tie. The home hoodoo is buried. Now the fans hope they can go from strength to strength. And we'll hope The Woodwork can keep performing at his maximum. It's about time the team had some luck.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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Premier League
Wigan Athletic
Charles N'Zogbia

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