The England defender admits that the DW Stadium retains a special place in his affections after he got his break in the Premier League playing for the Latics there before joining Everton in 2007. And even though his family will make the short journey to Lancashire to link-up with old friends ahead of the game, Baines knows that taking three points from Roberto Martinez’s men is vital to ensure there is no pause in the Toffees’ momentum before next week’s international break. He said:
“It’s the last game before the break and it’s one you want to win and then go away on a high."
“Before the last one we got beaten by West Brom and we don’t want to go away with that feeling again."
“Wigan is always a club I'll have an affiliation for – my family feel the same way, and my brother will go and watch Wigan if they’re at home when Everton are away."
“My two little boys and my mum and dad will go on Saturday."
“But we want to keep our run going.”
Baines started his first competitive England game against Ukraine last month, and hopes to keep his place in Roy Hodgson’s team when San Marino come to Wembley next Friday for their World Cup qualifier."
“I’ve been trying to keep my form up at club level in between the international games and in the main I’ve felt I’ve done that,” said the 27-year-old.
“Hopefully I’ll get in the squad first and foremost then take it from there."
“All you can do is do the best for your club and that's what I've been trying to do.”
On Tuesday Baines was named Everton’s player of the month in September, and the defender said his goal against Newcastle in the 2-2 draw at Goodison, when he ‘under-lapped’ smartly with Steven Pienaar to score, was his personal highlight. He said:
“It was nice to get off the mark early doors and from open play."
“I like to try and chip in when I can and to get a few from open play is important."
“The under-lap is not something we plan particularly it’s just awareness of where people are and the space around you. If there’s an opportunity to run on the outside I'll do that too but sometimes that space is taken up and on that occasion I saw the opportunity, and got a good pass from Steven."
“It's part of the game now – full backs are expected to provide assists or even goals."
“It’s been a good month for all of us in terms of good team performances and individuals."
“It was important for us to acknowledge we’ve not started well in the past and try to address it although we can’t say that’s been done yet.”