Wigan Athletic v Sunderland: Match Preview


Wigan Athletic v Sunderland
Barclays Premier League
DW Stadium
Tuesday, January 3rd; 19:45

Team News

Wigan will be without captain Gary Caldwell following his red card against Stoke City.

Fellow defender Emmerson Boyce is also out as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

Sunderland defensive trio Wes Brown, Phil Bardsley and Titus Bramble are major doubts for the trip, with groin, thigh and calf problems keeping them out respectively.

O'Neill demands same again

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill is after more of the same when The Black Cats take on Wigan Athletic in the Barclays Premier League.

O'Neill watched on as Ji-Dong Won struck late against league leaders Manchester City on Sunday to secure a famous win for the Northern Irish boss in just his fifth game in charge.

But while O'Neill was delighted with the win, he now wants more of the same, starting with the trip to Wigan.

"If we had been beaten having put that sort of effort in, then we would have been on a real downer. But we won and I am just delighted with that," O'Neill said.

"We are all scrapping at the moment and they showed that in abundance against Stoke City," he said of Wigan.

"I went to the game and they took the lead and then showed enough character to come back with 10 men to force the equaliser, so it will be hard for us.

"We maybe got three unexpected points on Sunday, and that will send us in in decent heart if nothing else."

While O'Neill might be undergoing something of a honeymoon period since taking over in December, Roberto Martinez's festive fixtures have been anything but full of good will, but the Spanish boss is hoping to build on some encouraging results against the bottom half rivals.

Matches against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United have all come during a period when The Latics have been battling in the bottom three of the Premier League.

But encouraging draws against Chelsea and Liverpool give supporter and players alike hope they can beat the drop in the New Year, with Martinez putting the onus on the club's January fixtures.

“As we go into January, tonight’s game is a very important one for us after the tough month we’ve had, when we faced Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United,” said Martinez.

“We passed the month with flying colours and showed a real belief in ourselves, playing outstanding phases of football and coupling that with results in the scorelines.

“The results have been good enough, I feel, to take us into 2012 ready to get the ultimate rewards this team deserves.

“We’re not there yet but, as a football club, we need to affect the challenges that lie ahead of us together – united.”

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