West Bromwich Albion Vs Wigan Athletic: Big Match Preview

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Carlos Vela is poised to make his debut for West Brom in Tuesday's Barclays Premier League clash at home to fellow strugglers Wigan.

The Mexico striker has joined the Baggies on loan from Arsenal for the remainder of the season.

Utility player Steven Reid is available again after recovering from knee surgery, but midfielder Graham Dorrans is still sidelined with an ankle problem.

Albion manager Roberto Di Matteo believes newcomer Vela will be perfectly suited to the team's style of play and will help them climb clear of the relegation zone.

He should have no difficulty slotting in with West Brom accustomed to playing the same kind of passing game as the Gunners.

Di Matteo will hope the Mexican can inspire Albion to end a run of six defeats in their last seven league encounters.

The Baggies boss said: "Carlos has got great technical ability. He's got fantastic pace and he is a great attacking option for us.

"We are very pleased and delighted he has chosen to come and play for us.

"It suits him very well the way we play football. That's the main reason he came here.

"He can fit in very nicely in the way we play and be a big threat for us.

"I think Arsenal were happy for him to come here and he was happy. I think they were pleased that he chose us."

West Brom's only win since early December was a 3-2 home success over Blackpool and Di Matteo knows the clash with the Latics is of similar significance.

He believes the Baggies fans can have a major influence on the outcome of the game.

Di Matteo said: "It's quite obvious it is a big game for both clubs. It's similar to the Blackpool game here.

"We have the home advantage and hopefully our supporters will be right behind us and give the players that little bit extra to win the game.

"We lost 1-0 at their place and it will probably be a similar sort of game.

"It was a very balanced game and I didn't think we deserved to lose. It will be a similar affair."

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez will restore his first-choice players to the side after resting a handful for the drawn FA Cup fourth round match against Bolton at the weekend.

Hugo Rodallega and Charles N'Zogbia should both be back in the starting XI, while goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi will come back despite Mike Pollitt's clean sheet.

Callum McManaman and Victor Moses impressed against the Trotters but James McCarthy and Franco Di Santo's first-team return should keep them out. Antolin Alcaraz remains out with a soft tissue problem.

Martinez is confident McManaman's emergence has spared Wigan scouring the transfer market for a new striker.

Manager Martinez shipped out underperforming summer signing Mauro Boselli on loan to Genoa earlier in the transfer window but instead of looking for a direct replacement he has opted to give 19-year-old McManaman his head.

The forward scored his first goal for the club in the FA Cup win over Hull and showed further promise with a lively display in the draw at Bolton.


Martinez believes he can continue to be of use between now and the end of the year and is happy with his compliment of attacking options.

"Callum's ready for whatever role we will give him. It's not a case of relying on Callum to stay in the Premier League. But he's ready," said Martinez.

"We've also got Hugo (Rodallega), Charles (N'Zogbia), Franco (Di Santo), Victor (Moses) and Tom (Cleverley) at the club, so the forward line is very good here.

"Rather than bringing in a player without any Premier League experience, to be an extra member of the squad, I feel Callum deserves that role in the squad."

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West Bromwich Albion
Premier League
Wigan Athletic

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