West Bromwich Albion v Wigan Athletic: Match Preview

The Hawthorns

Just when you thought West Brom would allow their season to die off in its latter stages they deliver a ruthless performance to flatten one of the Premier League’s in form sides. With nothing left to play for the Baggies were expected to stroll through their remaining fixtures and hadn’t won in four matches before steam rolling Southampton at St Mary’s last week. Steve Clarke and his side can still finish sixth but realistically their current position of eighth is there, or thereabout, where they’ll remain.

While this match won’t take on much importance for their opponents this remains a critical fixture for Wigan and manager Roberto Martinez. With four games left to play and an FA Cup final looming the Latics have to west Midlands with maximum points if they’re to retain any hope of digging themselves out of the bottom three. For the players the incentive of nailing a starting spot at Wembley will play on their minds and could work in Wigan’s advantage.

Team News

West Brom are without Chris Brunt (knee) and Goran Popov (calf), while Marc-Antoine Fortune starts a three-match ban.

Wigan have a defensive crisis on their hands after Maynor Figueroa was ruled out for the rest of the season with a groin injury. Antonin Alcaraz (hamstring) is close to a return, while Ivan Ramis is still out. Captain Gary Caldwell is confident he will be fit.

What the managers said…

“I don’t expect. I work every day while I am under contract and I don’t expect anything. I just come in every day and do the job as best I can. I don’t sit wondering or contemplating what might happen in the future. I just work with the contract I’ve got and I’m comfortable. If it’s offered to me then I would speak about it.” Steve Clarke discusses extending his contract at West Brom (Express & Star)

“I heard it could be a distraction but, believe me, it is not a distraction at all. If anything, it is a sense of pride. To be in this position is a huge achievement. To be facing the FA Cup final is an historic moment and we are all extremely proud of it. That gives you a positive feeling – around the town, around the fans and around the dressing room. We are taking every game in the league with the importance it has. We all understand that is the priority. Roberto Martinez insists the FA Cup final isn’t a distraction to Wigan (ITV Sport)

Pre-match Statistic: The three Premier League goals Marc-Antoine Fortune has scored against Wigan is more than the striker has managed against any other Premier League team.

Prediction: West Bromwich Albion 3-2 Wigan Athletic

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