Wolverhampton Wanderers Vs Wigan Athletic, Sun 26 Dec 2010

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Wolves boss Mick McCarthy will check on the fitness of a host of players before finalising his side for the Barclays Premier League clash at Wigan on Boxing Day.

McCarthy will hope defender Christophe Berra (thigh) and midfielder Nenad Milijas (foot) have recovered from injuries suffered in the win over Birmingham a fortnight ago.

But Matt Jarvis (knee), Kevin Doyle (thigh), Michael Mancienne (knee), David Jones (foot), Jody Craddock (hip) and Steven Mouyokolo (back) are doubts.

Skipper Karl Henry is unlikely to have recovered from a knee setback although he is making good progress.

Adlene Guedioura (broken leg) and Michael Kightly (knee) remain the long-term absentees.

McCarthy insists £7million club record signing Steven Fletcher is "going nowhere".

Striker Fletcher has struggled to make an impact at Molineux since his summer move from Burnley for whom he scored 13 goals last season.

He was initially troubled by an ankle injury and was then played out wide rather than in a forward role.

There has been speculation that Fletcher is looking to leave the midlands club.

But McCarthy is adamant Fletcher is staying.

McCarthy said: "He lost a fair bit of weight, but he's looking much better and he looks sharp.

"He'll be fine and all that was written about him leaving was nonsense.

"There's no chance of him going nowhere.

"I said to him yesterday: 'I bought you and you're different class.'

"I told him I don't believe one word of what was in the papers because there aren't any quotes from him anyway.

"I said: 'If anyone is being mischievous it doesn't matter to me because you're staying here, you're going to play so get yourself back in the team and play like I know you can."'

Club captain Gary Caldwell and on-loan midfielder Tom Cleverley are back in contention for Wigan having

recovered from thigh and hip problems respectively.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez will be without Honduras internationals Hendry Thomas and Maynor Figueroa as both players serve one-match suspensions.

Emmerson Boyce (hamstring) and Franco Di Santo (ankle) are still not fit to return while James McCarthy and Victor Moses are long-term casualties.

Martinez wants his players to treat their Boxing Day relegation clash with Wolves like a final - although he feels any suggestion it is a game they cannot afford to lose is wide of the mark.

December 26 looks set to be an important day at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League, with Fulham, who lie 17th in the table, hosting 20th-placed West Ham in a midday kick-off.

Wigan and Wolves - currently sitting between the two London sides in 18th and 19th respectively - then meet at Molineux, a contest where Martinez admits the stakes will be high.

The Spaniard does not, however, believe that defeat would spell disaster for his team.

"We have 21 games left in the league, so I don't think it would be realistic to say that you cannot lose this game," Martinez said.

"What is quite clear is that it is a more than important game - it is really significant because of what it means.

"It is a direct confrontation between two clubs who at the moment are sharing a similar position in the table, and that makes it a special encounter.

"But we know we need to be successful over the next four months. It is not about one game - it is making sure that over the second half of the campaign, we are as strong as we can be.

"You always look at these games as important games, though, because it is more than points.

"You are working for that psychological advantage and it is a game where you have to take it as a final."

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Premier League
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Wolverhampton Wanderers

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