Stoke v Wigan: LIVE

29 January 2013 06:53


Follow all the action as Stoke City host Wigan Athletic at the Britannia Stadium in the Barclays Premier League

Stoke V Wigan - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Whelan hoping for quick response

Glenn Whelan hopes Stoke can quickly put their FA Cup disappointment behind them by reigniting their push for a top-10 finish in the Barclays Premier League with victory against Wigan.

The Potters have been regulars in the latter stages of the competition over the last few years but were knocked out in the fourth round on Saturday by Manchester City.

The 1-0 scoreline was a repeat of City's win over Stoke in the 2011 final, and their focus now turns to getting back on track in the league.

The Potters ended 2012 unbeaten at home in the league in almost a year, on a run of 10 matches without defeat and with the best defensive record in the top flight.

But since then they have lost all three league games, including a 4-0 hammering at the Britannia Stadium against Chelsea, and have shipped 10 goals in the process.

Stoke are still hanging on to a top-10 spot, and finishing in the top half of the table for the first time in the Premier League is a big target.

Whelan told "We have to dust ourselves down now and bounce straight back because we have a massive game coming up on Tuesday.

"It would have been nice to have progressed in the FA Cup because we have seen what it can do for the club. Sadly, though, it just wasn't to be for us this year.

"We have performed well over the last few years in this competition by reaching two quarter-finals and a final, so we can be proud of that achievement.

"The Premier League is the bread and butter, though, and we can now fully focus our attentions on that and aim to get as high up the league table as we possibly can. We want to get into the top half this year, and hopefully we can achieve that now."

Wigan are through to the fifth round of the cup after edging out non-league Macclesfield on Saturday but are in dire need of a good result having slipped to second from bottom in the table.

The Latics have managed only one victory from their last 10 Premier League matches but they do have a decent record at the Britannia Stadium, losing on only one of their last six visits.

Whelan will be able to take his place in the side after it was confirmed the Football Association will not be taking retrospective action against him.

Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is set to return after making way for Thomas Sorensen in the cup, while defenders Andy Wilkinson and Ryan Shotton had been injury doubts prior to Saturday's match but came through unscathed.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is likely to switch to a more familiar line-up after making eight changes at Moss Rose.

Defender Antolin Alcaraz (groin) is not yet match-fit while Ivan Ramis (knee), goalkeeper Mike Pollitt (thigh) and midfielders Ben Watson (broken leg), Albert Crusat (knee) and Ryo Miyaichi (ankle) are all out with long-term injuries.

Fraser Fyvie is the only new injury worry after he picked up a soft tissue problem against Macclesfield on Saturday, while striker Arouna Kone is at the African Nations Cup.

Martinez predicts a ferocious fight to the end of the season for the bottom 10 clubs in the Barclays Premier League as they bid to secure their top-flight survival.

Martinez, who has engineered the Latics' safety in the closing stages of the last two seasons, believes this year will see a much tighter finish with several teams battling each other to pass the magic 40-point barrier and secure safety.

"This year the bottom 10 positions are really open," Martinez told reporters.

"I know that now people are looking at the table but I don't think it shows the reality of the teams that are involved. There will be a lot of twists and turns from now until the end of the season.

"When you go to he last third of the league season, where you are in the table is just a starting point, but I do believe it is going to be a ferocious fight until the end of the season.

"A lot of teams are going to get involved because if you don't get the 40 points that you need you are going to be fighting to avoid relegation. There are ways of winning football games and everyone will have a say from now until the end of the season."

Source: DSG