Wigan should revert to a more familiar line-up for their Premier League game with Sunderland after making nine changes in the FA Cup in midweek. Antolin Alcaraz is training but not yet match-fit, while Ivan Ramis is ruled out for the season, so Wigan are light in defence. Roger Espinoza and Angelo Henriquez are pushing for places but Adrian Lopez, Ben Watson, Albert Crusat and Ryo Miyaichi are still out. Arouna Kone is on Africa Cup of Nations duty with the Ivory Coast.
Martin O’Neil says both captain John O’Shea and top-scorer Steven Fletcher have trained ahead of the trip to Wigan. Lee Cattermole jarred his knee in training and will miss the match while he recovers from the long-term problem. He joins a lengthy injury list including Wes Brown, Carlos Cuellar and Danny Rose. Sunderland aren’t in great form, their last win coming over the champions Man City on Boxing Day.
- Franco Di Santo – The Argentinean international (yes, really) links up play smartly and is capable of scoring the odd screamer – just ask Fulham among others.
- Maynor Figueroa – Has been at the heart of the defence for a few seasons now at the D.W. stadium, his spirit and determination was summed up by a wonderful goal-line clearance against Fulham last week.
- James McCarthy – has won rave reviews for his all-action displays in midfield. Gary Neville said a few weeks ago he will play for a top club one day – and when has Gary ever been wrong before?
- Steven Fletcher – Has over double the goals of the second highest scorer, is always a threat in the box when given the service and will be looking to end a scoring drought of a month without scoring.
- Simon Mignolet – Has won plaudits all season for a series of fine saves and is a commanding presence in a leaky backline.
- Seb Larsson – Has one of the finest set piece deliveries going, especially important away from home. Can also dictate a game with his fine range of passing.
Line ups (probable):
Wigan (3-5-2): Al-Habsi, Boyce, Caldwell, Figueroa, Stam, Beausejour, McCarthy, McArthur, Gomez, Di Santo, Maloney.
Sunderland (4-4-1-1): Mignolet, Gardner, Bramble, O’Shea, Bardsley, Larsson, Colback, Johnson, McClean, Sessegnon, Fletcher
Prediction: A scrappy game on the cards here, the game will probably swing depending on which Wigan turn up today. Sunderland have a bit of grit and fight about them these days and could nick a useful point here. 1-1
Where To Watch Online: Wigan vs. Sunderland