Lomy's Looking Up

Alan Pardew is delighted that Steve Lomas is improving fitness-wise as he looks to return to action following a stint of rehab in America.

"I expect Matthew Etherington to be back for the Stoke game and Lomy is really training well at the moment," he says.

"He has just had a baby girl and life is treating him well; he looks good and I am looking forward to having him back.

"We certainly need his voice and leadership qualities around the place."

Alan is also delighted that the reserves played so well against Tottenham on Wednesday, and he adds:

"To be honest I thought we excelled against a very strong Spurs side and our young boys played above themselves - they were a credit to the club.

"Anyone who was there would have seen that we were very unlucky to lose that and Roger was particularly upset that a couple of decisions went against us.

"But in terms of progress there were a few players that did themselves no harm at all."

"If we get the win and Matthew Etherington back to give us a bit more balance on the left and with others to come back, including Jermain, we are starting to look as if we have got the players to get promoted - we just need to bring it all together."

Speaking ahead of what will be the biggest attendance ever to see Wigan in a league game - the previous best being the 31,058 who watched the 1-0 defeat against Manchester City at Maine Road in April 1999 - Alan says:

"The atmosphere at Upton Park is special; as yet in my two home games they have been two cracking matches but not the right result.

"I am looking forward to this one and I obviously want to give them a win; that is all we need really and you can sense that everyone around the place is willing it.

"We have to be patient and make sure we go about it in the right way."

Alan is looking for the right reaction to any setbacks on the field, and he adds:

"It is something we needed to talk about but it is not so easy to do - but we have to get on with it, have strong characters, and strong minds.

"I think there is always a backlash of relegation and I don't think Trevor feel that in his spell; he changed it round and got result a small squad which was great.

"Just as it was handed over to me we had a couple of draws at home and obviously didn't get a win with my first couple of games.

"That has all transpired into a bit of a negative run; it is a fine line between winning and losing and we have to break that line.

"I am sure we will very soon and when we do we can cause some damage - which is what we are looking for.

"Losing Matthew Etherington was a blow; the effect of losing him is a warning so we have to be careful and we do lack balance when he is not playing."