Wigan v Birmingham

18 March 2011 01:21
Wigan striker Hugo Rodallega is a slight doubt with a knock picked up against Manchester City on 5 March.Defender Emerson Boyce has recovered from a hamstring problem. [LNB]Birmingham welcome back Roger Johnson, Obafemi Martins, Craig Gardner and Stephen Carr, all of whom missed the FA Cup defeat to Bolton through injury. [LNB]Barry Ferguson and Martin Jiranek are also fit despite picking up knocks last weekend, but Nikola Zigic is one of four players rated doubtful. [LNB][LNB]Wigan[LNB]Doubtful: Rodallega (unspecified) [LNB]Birmingham[LNB]Doubtful: Bentley & Zigic (both groin), Bowyer & Fahey (both hamstring) [LNB]Injured: Dann (hamstring), Hleb & McFadden (both knee), Valles (foot) [LNB][LNB] MATCH PREVIEW With so much at stake, it is hard to imagine the Premier League's two lowest scorers producing a goalfest at the DW Stadium. Both Wigan and Birmingham have averaged less than a goal per game this term, meaning a flash of inspiration - or a momentary lapse in concentration - could be decisive on Saturday.[LNB] Now our focus is on the league and, no question, we're ready Birmingham boss Alex McLeish It was the latter in the Latics' last game, with an error from goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi gifting Manchester City the points at Eastlands, condemning Wigan to their second successive defeat. [LNB]They were also unfortunate to lose to Manchester United in their most recent match at the DW Stadium, when Wayne Rooney should have seen red early on. However, time is fast running out for the Premier League's bottom side, who begin the weekend four points adrift of 17th-placed Birmingham and with the worst goal difference in the top flight. [LNB]With games against Tottenham and Chelsea next on the horizon, Wigan may have to beat Birmingham just to avoid being cast adrift at the foot of the table. [LNB]Birmingham's FA Cup exit to Bolton should focus Blues' attention on securing survival. City's away form in 2011 has generally been pretty solid, with their only defeat coming at Manchester United, and they head to the DW Stadium boosted by the return to fitness of several key players.[LNB] MATCH FACTS Head-to-head[LNB]• Birmingham have lost only one of seven Premier League games against Wigan. [LNB]Wigan[LNB]• The Latics have won just one of their last 11 league games. [LNB]• According to Opta figures, Wigan are the worst finishers in the top flight, converting just 10% of shots into goals. [LNB]• They have lost 12 of 19 top-flight matches this term in which they conceded the opening goal, winning just once (against Blackburn). [LNB]Birmingham[LNB]• Blues have won two of their last eight league games. [LNB]• They have scored 13 goals in their last 16 top-flight matches. [LNB]• The last time Birmingham scored more than two goals in a Premier League match was a 3-2 victory at Wigan on 5 December 2009. Since then they have played 51 top-flight games. [LNB][LNB] LEADING GOALSCORERS [LNB]Wigan[LNB]Rodallega: 7 goals (7 league); N'Zogbia: 5 goals (4 league) [LNB][LNB]Birmingham[LNB]Zigic: 8 goals (5 league); Gardner: 7 goals (5 league) [LNB][LNB] MATCH OFFICIALS Referee: Lee Probert [LNB]Assistant referees: Dean Mohareb & Ceri Richards [LNB]Fourth official: Craig Pawson [LNB][LNB] LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS Wigan (L0-1 v Man City, a): Al Habsi; Lopez (Gohouri 69), G Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Watson, Diame (Sammon 84), Moses (N'Zogbia 60), McCarthy, Cleverley, Rodallega. Subs not used: Pollitt, Thomas, Di Santo, Gomez. [LNB]Birmingham (D1-1 v Everton, a): Foster; Carr, Ridgewell, Johnson, Jiranek, Bentley (Murphy 8), Larsson, Bowyer, Mutch, Beausejour, Jerome (Zigic 73). Subs not used: Doyle, Phillips, Martins, Parnaby, Davies.

Source: BBC_Sport