Southampton-Wigan Athletic Preview
LONDON (SE) - Wigan Athletic will be looking to move out of the Premier League's relegation zone Saturday afternoon when they welcome fellow strugglers Southampton to the DW Stadium.
Roberto Martinez's Latics (5-5-14) have picked up just six points from their last 10 games to slip into the bottom three, but were given a much-needed confidence boost with a two-goal comeback to draw Stoke City in midweek.
"What pleased me most was that we kept trying to play our style of football and as a result became more decisive and did some things you don't often see at The Britannia Stadium; scoring two goals from open play and prevented the home side from having a single corner kick," said Martinez. "To be honest the players are really disappointed not to have taken three points from the game rather than just one which is a sign of where we are at the moment physically and mentally.
"Overall, it was a performance to be very proud of, and we're going to fight for every single point there is left to play for this season."
Visitors Southampton (5-8-11) have been in outstanding form to move out of the relegation zone themselves. A 2-1 loss at Old Trafford on Wednesday was the Saints' first defeat in seven games in the league - a run that included draws with Chelsea, Everton and Arsenal - but the performance did nothing to diminish the growing confidence in the squad.
"The manager said that if we play like we did in the second half, press like that and play football like that then we're going to do well and go far," said Adam Lallana after the game against Manchester United. "We've got to take confidence out of that, and we have to take this into the game on Saturday against Wigan.
"It's a six-pointer. They gave us a lesson at St. Mary's in what was only our second game, and they are a very good footballing team with a great manager. But, if we play like this for 90 minutes then I'm confident that we're going to get three points."
Wigan have doubts over Emmerson Boyce (hamstring), Albert Crusat (knee), Antolin Alcaraz (groin) and Mike Pollitt (hip), while Ivan Ramis (knee), Ryo Miyaichi (ankle) and Ben Watson (broken leg) are out. Southampton's Guilherme do Prado and Jose Fonte are both sidelined with knee injuries.
Wigan have lost seven games at home - the most in the Premier League - and have conceded 25 goals at home - the most in the division. Only Reading have lost more games away from home this season than the seven by visitors Southampton, but the Saints have conceded more goals on the road (28) than any other team in the top flight.
August's game between these two at the DW Stadium back in August was their first league meeting. Wigan ran out 2-0 winners thanks to second half goals from Franco Di Santo and Arouna Kone.