Back to the present though and how have Wigan been doing while we're fighting back under Pards? Well, they had a rather depressing run of 8 defeats in a row during December and January which dragged them down to 17th spot in the table, but Jewells' turned 'em round up somewhat and they have now lost only 1 of the last 6 and that was against the Arse where Mr Jewell got so upset. Unbeaten now in their last four and with no goals conceded in their last three they look to be a tougher nut to crack than were Newcastle.
Wigan are currently on 33 points, 6 in front of the Addicks and will come to the Valley thinking that a win will almost certainly ensure another season in the Premiership. They have already won 4 times away from home at Bolton, Fulham, Man.City and West Ham but of special interest to us is their current away form where their last 4 games have finished most recently against Man.City 1-0, a 1-1 draw at Watford, where they were down to 10 men for most of the game, a narrow 1-2 defeat at the Arse where they were unlucky not to win and 2-3 reverse at Reading.
Only Two Defeats.......
Up front with Heskey would normally be Caleb Folan who joined Wigan in January from Chesterfield and will be remembered by Hreidarsson and Diawara who played against him in League Cup thing back in November when he played, and scored, against us. He suffered, however, an ankle injury in the last game against Fulham, thus missing his recent international call-up for the Irish such has been his current form, and if he hasn't recovered he will probably be replaced by Camara - which is obviously better as he hasn't scored since early December.
Well, overall they don't sound too threatening, do they? But before you get too carried away, it's worth remembering those 4 away wins and the fact that of the 13 games that Wigan have played against teams in the bottom half of the Premiership table they have only lost twice.....
Is the Team Starting to Pick Itself?
Succesful teams tend not to change too much and after our recent improvement in performances we're starting to see a settled team. There might be one change, however, from the same defence as kept a clean sheet against Newcastle due to the Herminator's knee injury which kept him out of Iceland's game against Spain on Wednesday, so it should Carson, Young, the Elk, Diawara and Thatcher back from his own injury.
Our midfield mainstay will once again be Holland with Rommerdahl or Ambrose ( another back from injury) and Jerry Thomas giving us width. Supporting Matty H in the middle of the park will hopefully be Alex Song, awaiting a late test, or Amdy Faye.
Darren Bent will be up front but has Zizi done enough to satisfy Pardew and earn another start? With Lisbie having an impressive run-out for the reserves in midweek, scoring twice, and although Marcus is another who has supposedly recovered injured, its possible that Pards will see the Chinaman as the answer, with Lisbie making the bench.