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Sunderland v Wigan preview

13 March 2009 10:51
Wigan head to Sunderland on Saturday in the hope of picking up their first win in nine games.

The high-flying Latics have not tasted victory since early January and are at increasing risk of being dragged into the relegation dogfight.

Despite occupying ninth place in the league table, the club are just seven points clear of the drop and manager Steve Bruce will be hoping to stop the rot this weekend before the threat of relegation becomes all too real.

Meanwhile, Sunderland are in an even more precarious position, but a win could lift them onto equal points with their opponents.

Team newsKieran Richardson is suspended for Sunderland's next two games after picking up his tenth booking of the season last week.

Grant Leadbitter and Carlos Edwards are set to fight it out for a starting slot in the absence of Richardson, but Teemu Tainio is unlikely to be in contention as he recovers from a knee injury.

Anton Ferdinand is also a serious doubt with a hamstring injury, while Nyron Nosworthy will not be fit enough to fill in at the back.

Subsequently, Phil Bardsley should continue to deputise but will face competition from Calum Davenport.

Wigan have just one new absentee through injury in Antoine Sibierski, after the Frenchman suffered a hamstring problem in midweek training.

However, Lee Cattermole is the most significant exclusion from the Latics line-up after his red card against West Ham last week earned him a four-match ban, with Paul Scharner the most likely candidate to plug the gap in midfield.

Otherwise, Won Hee Cho has finally been given international clearance and is included in the squad, while Hugo Rodallega may start up front for Wigan if Steve Bruce decides to drop goal-shy Amr Zaki.

Possible starting XIs:Sunderland: Fulop, Bardsley, Ben-Haim, Collins, McCartney, Malbranque, Whitehead, Leadbitter, Reid, Jones, Cisse.

Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Boyce, Bramble, Figueroa, Valencia, Brown, Scharner, N'Zogbia, Mido, Zaki.

Source: SKY_Sports